2015 - 2020 Honda Shadow Aero / Shadow Phantom
Honda made an honest attempt to capture that look and feel of yesteryear with the Shadow duo, the big brothers to the Rebel range. Maybe just a little too honest – is that a mechanical drum brake I see? Still with a 745 cc engine and a wide-ratio transmission, the Shadow Phantom and the Aero fill the "cruiser" slot quite adequately for Honda.
2018 - 2020 Honda NC750X
Honda introduced the NC750X to the U.S. market in 2018 to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter sector. Like its predecessor, the NC700X, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring. The new engine lends it a sportier attitude with 54 horsepower on tap and a two-level torque control to help you keep it under control.
2016 - 2019 Honda Fury / Stateline
The Honda designers targeted the outlaw chopper culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and managed to turn out a fairly faithful interpretation in the Fury, which is carried into 2020 though we lost its stablemate, the Stateline, from the lineup in 2017. The deep saddle and cut-down rear fender combined with the sweep of the fuel tank give it that stretched, custom look. For the American market, the 52-degree V-twin fits right in with a 1,312 cc engine that isn’t so big as to be intimidating.
2019 - 2020 Honda CBR650R
Honda dropped an “F” and added an “R” to its lineup last year with its new CBR650R. The factory gave it a look that’s all its own with new fairings and a trim rear end, and it adds to the R’s race-tastic tendencies with an aggressive rider’s triangle. New Showa stems and powerful brakes add value while the souped-up engine adds compression and power to make the R a thrill to ride, along with new electronic safety features to help you keep it dirty-side down.
2014 - 2020 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
2019 - 2020 Honda CBR500R
Honda spruced up its CBR500R ahead of MY2018, and in an unusual move, buffed it up yet again for MY2019. The new model dips further into race-tastic territory with aerodynamics and ergonomics as the main front-burner considerations for an effort far beyond the BNL treatment, and the factory also tweaked the drivetrain to give it a bit more go to match the sporty new show.
2015 - 2020 Honda CBR300R
Honda shows us that big isn’t always better with its CBR300R. As the small-displacement sportbike bracket fills in from every quarter, the CBR300R with its 286 cc engine has the aggressive look and feel of the bigger bikes – like a Fireblade you left in the dryer too long — but in a commuter-friendly version that could be a stepping stone on your way up the displacement ladder.
2019 - 2020 Honda CB650R
After a race to the upper displacement range and a subsequent search for the bottom usable cubage, Honda revisited its midrange and spruced up its CB650R ahead of the 2019 model year. That’s right sports fans; the Neo Sport Café concept has gone to production under this new moniker, and it rolled into MY19 with a handful of tweaks that brushed up the looks and carve off a little fat. The powerplant also took a beating from the buffhammer to turn out a 5-percent increase in power with changes to improve rideability and safety.
2019 - 2021 Honda CB500X
Honda brushed up its CB500X ahead of MY2019 with a number of improvements that came hot on the heels of the buffs it got just the year before. A number of engine tweaks net a small gain in torque, along with a larger front wheel to better tackle road bumps and light terrain. The ’stop’ was boosted right along with the ’go’ in the form of a few refinements in the electronics department, as well as the hardware. Improvements in the suspension and rider’s triangle do their bit to increase rideability and comfort on Honda’s new smallish-displacement adventure bike.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
The Harley-Davidson lineup underwent some serious changes for MY2018, and the chopped-down, Dyna-based Street Bob was rebuilt and reintroduced as a Softail model. Not only did it switch to Harley’s faux-rigid style frame, but the frame itself was completely reinvented to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original that saw the light of day for the first time back in ’84. Sure, it still has that classic Softail visage, but the factory achieved it in a totally different way this time, and any perceived similarities are only skin deep. To add to the revamp, the Street Bob was on the receiving end of a beating-heart transplant with the addition of the then-new-to-cruisers, Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant that brings over 100 pounds of grunt to the table. The Street Bob has more power, new frame, and a new family/model combination as it rolls through to 2020.
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Roadster
A little sparse, a little spare, and an exercise in understatement describes the new-in-2016 Harley-Davidson Roadster, at least in appearance. Performance-wise, it’s agile with a greater lean angle than what you typically find in the Sportster stable. Not just a cut-down Sportster, the Roadster features a different frame and enhanced suspension along with the tried-and-true air-cooled Evolution engine.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider
Powered by the Milwaukee-Eight engine with a total of 110 pound-feet of torque, the agile Softail frame brings heretofore unseen performance to the Low Rider. Harley-Davidson is digging deep to give us better handling and more power and the Low Rider is a prime example.
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
Traffic-carving performance wasn’t the first thing I thought of when hearing the name Harley-Davidson, but the MoCo started changing that perception with the new-in-2017 Street Rod 750. While it is, in fact, based on the Street 750, multiple changes in the setup and equipment turn it into another animal entirely. Shorter steering geometry, a more aggressive rider triangle and a more powerful engine come together in H-D’s decisive push into the sport-standard market.
2018 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
Indian Motorcycle has certainly called some attention to its mid-size bikes through its success on the flat track, and the Scout Bobber looks to capitalize on that by garnering some of the factory-custom business. The “Bobber” brings modern performance to the table along with the overall look of the iconic bobber style, yet fits in well with the rest of the made-for-the-US market, foreign and domestic built. An 1,133 cc plant delivers the power, and last year, the Bobber rocked improved electronics plus a USB charging port, regardless of which color you choose.
2019 - 2020 Indian Springfield
Indian Motorcycle cashes in on its deep design roots with the Springfield model that hit the market in ’16 and has been carried over into the 2020 model year with nary but a few adjustments to the color palette. Power comes from what was Indian’s largest production engine prior to 2020, along with ABS and keyless ignition on board, but it’s the classic, old-school bagger looks that drive sales of this particular unit. Best of all, it’s among the least expensive of the available baggers, and that positions it well within the boulevard-bruiser/light-tour categories.
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
Indian Motorcycle was obliged to release a “civilian version” of its FTR 750 to qualify to race in the Flat Track circuit, but the factory unleashed a new branch on that family tree last year with the FTR 1200. That’s right sports fans, you can own a piece of history with the second race-inspired performance machine to come from Indian since it was acquired by Polaris], and though it’s not liable to see an official closed-circuit course, it’s built to feel as though it could do so. The FTR 1200 rocks a much larger powerplant with looks that clearly channel its podium-sweeping smaller sibling, and it all comes in a street-friendly package that makes it accessible to the riding public in general.
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Classic
Indian Motorcycle, under the expansive Polaris umbrella, blessed its Chieftain lineup with a facelift ahead of MY2019, but the Chieftain Classic alone retains its looks to perpetuate the retro-styling that made it a hit in the first place. The “Classic” benefits from the same under-the-hood fandanglery as the rest of the lineup, so while its looks might be a bit dated in the most delightful ways, you can count on modern safety and comfort all the same. For 2020, Indian brings new ICON limited-availability colorways.
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
Indian Motorcycle, under the Polaris umbrella, looks to capitalize on its success of American Flat Track in recent years with the race-bike inspired FTR 1200 S. The “S” builds on the vanilla FTR 1200 base model with a number of race-tastic features that elevate it to a higher shelf. It includes upgraded suspension components, better safety equipment, and advanced engine-control electronics for an all-around awesome experience. All of that is on top of the new-from-last-year, punched-out engine, and inherent curb appeal. If you’re into the flat-track thing, or just fancy yourself a fiery-eyed pegdragger, this may be the American-style racer you’ve been looking for.
2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke
The value of indoctrination is not lost on KTM, evidenced by the fact that they updated and generally spruced up their entry-level unit, the 390 Duke in 2017, and those improvements carry straight over into the 2020 season. New upside-down stems float the front end along with larger, more powerful brakes to help manage the energy from the 44-horsepower engine and 328-pound dry weight. Ride-by-wire makes an appearance for a bit of tech you normally don’t see at this price point. Add to this a fresh new look and you have a recipe for success.
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
Austrian manufacturer KTM teases us with a glimpse into its 2020 lineup by releasing the details on the top-shelf 790 Adventure R “Rally” model. KTM’s not-inconsiderable experience with off-road bikes is readily apparent in this special, limited-edition build that takes an already capable machine and pushes it over the top. Far from being the two-wheeled equivalent of a soccer mom’s SUV, the Rally brings true globetrotting ability to the table with a potent powerplant, extended-travel suspension and weight-saving measures that deliver Dakar-worthy performance. This is a preview as the machine is slated for release in the near future, so get ready to place your order with the quickness when that day arrives, because this mid-size racer is bound to sell out fast.
2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
Piaggio is committed to the progression of EV scooters, and the Group proved it yet again at 2019 EICMA with its Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H model. As the devilishly clever name suggests, the top speed has been raised to a more useful max for increased utility as an around-town commuter/grocery-getter. The range increase pairs well with the beefed-up output and higher speed to complete the improved drive package, and of course, it comes clad in that timeless Vespa body style that evokes images of the machines that once mobilized a post-war Italy.
2017 - 2020 KTM RC 390
KTM’s RC 390 saw a major revamp ahead of MY2017, and the Austrian giant carries that revised model through into 2020 as the smallest starter-super to be offered in the U.S. market. Don’t be fooled by the small displacement; this is a proper racebike trainer with all the handling performance you’d expect from larger machines.
2019 - 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
KTM has proven itself capable of producing competitive dirtbikes and popular streetbikes, and 2019 brought a next-gen Gran Turismo that targets the sport-tour genre for domination. Sure, the previous model set a pretty high standard, especially if you like your sport-tour machines heavy on the sport, but our Austrian friends managed to raise the bar even more with a handful of improvements in the 1290 Super Duke GT. Comfort and convenience were updated along with the instrumentation, all with even more race-tacular tendencies due to the revised V-Twin powerplant and improved electronic aids.
2019 - 2020 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
KTM hit 2019 with a new platform for adventure fans: the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R. The factory credits its own customer base with the design of this new adventuresome duo, as they’re both based on direct feedback from same. As a result, they come off the showroom floor with a definite head start in the comfort and rideability departments.
2017 - 2020 KTM 125 Duke
The battle of the flyweights rages on as KTM stays in the fray with its race-tastic 125 Duke. KTM takes much the same tack as the competition and builds its entry-level ride to resemble the machines it has to offer further up the licensing chain. The angular Duke bodywork and exposed Trellis frame set the stage for the key player, the 11 kW powerplant that keeps the 125 Duke within the A1 performance envelope and turns it into a weapon in the fight for the zenith of the nadir, ie, the entry-level masses yearning to breathe free. KTM has established quite a name for itself as the King of Thumpers with a proven off-road record, but today I’m going to take a look and see how the littlest Duke stacks up against the rest of the 125 cc streetbike field.
2019 - 2020 KTM 690 SMC R
KTM souped up its SuperMoto-tastic 690 SMC R for a 2019 return with more of everything that made its predecessor a success. That’s right, a new powerplant drives KTM’s newest version of its popular jackass bike, and it comes with new control and ride-quality electronics that helps you safely get the most out of the machine. Whether you’re into drifting around turns or trick-riding shenanigans, this hooligan bike has something to offer.
2021 Honda Hunter Cub CT125
Honda teased us last year with a tantalizing glimpse of its CT125 Hunter Cub update as a concept model, and now it looks like the bike is going into production and coming to our side of the pond. Based on the legendary Super Cub that also recently saw a relaunch with an updated, modernized model, the Hunter Cub is built with a bias toward back-road/off-road work. Laced wheels and stealth knobbies join with the already handy little Super Cub platform and a specially-tuned, 8-plus horsepower plant to boost its terrain-tackling capabilities.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has been making progress on its “100 new bikes” initiative, and while some of them have been variations on existing platforms, the new-for-next-year Pan America represents a net-new direction for Milwaukee. This marks a radical departure from the norm for The MoCo as it’s what you might call an actual proper adventure bike. It’s built with an off-road bias to a degree far beyond the flat-track bike or any Sportster-with-knobbies homemade scrambler, and it sports plenty of that rally-type style with a brand-new V-Twin powerplant as the icing on the cake.
2021 Honda ADV150
Honda expands its adventure-bike range downward into the scooter category with the early release of its 2021 ADV150. Subtle off-road touches join fairly robust rider-protection features to make this bike viable as both an urban commuter and a backroads explorer with long-stroke suspension and ABS protection to support those different modes of travel. All of this comes with the usual twist-and-go operation and a price tag under $5k.
2019 - 2020 KTM 690 Enduro R
The KTM 690 Enduro R joins its streetwise sibling, the 690 SMC R, to finish covering all the bases for street and dirt. As its diabolically clever name suggests, the “Enduro” is set up to be street legal so you can drive it down to your favorite off-road locale and skip the trailer and tow vehicle. Far from being just another dual-sport, the Enduro rocks the same top-shelf electronic rider aids as the SMC R to give it a safety and stability far beyond the norm for an off-road machine. The factory also chucked a new frame and top-shelf, WP XPLOR suspension at it to sweeten the deal.
2018 - 2020 KTM 790 Duke
KTM launched a fresh assault on the mid-displacement, naked-bike market with the 2018 790 Duke, first of its name. The Austrian bike builders nicknamed it “The Scalpel” for its precise control over power delivery and lean angle with a race-tastic chassis and new, 100-plus horsepower mill. A robust electronics suite brings an alphabet soup of goodies to the table, and ABS, traction control, and variable power-delivery ride modes are just a few of the features on the menu. Even with the dearth of body panels, it’s easy to see the Duke DNA in the details that leave no doubts about its heritage. A bold move in such a competitive market, so let’s see what else KTM throws in to sweeten the deal and be competitive in a crowded field.
2021 Damon Hypersport HS
Damon Motorcycles commands some pretty impressive technology, and the factory brings that to bear in the EV bike market with its new Hypersport HS. The bodywork will look familiar to fans of the Big Four, same with the brakes, but it’s the stuff under the hood that really sets this bike apart. Performance- and safety-based electronics combine to deliver a potentially safer riding experience and a more thrilling one at the same time. Could this be the bike to pull in that all-important Millennial buyer base?
2020 KTM 390 Adventure
KTM builds on the success of its 790 Adventure with the new 2020 390 Adventure model. The 390 Adventure borrows elements from its larger-displacement siblings for much of its design DNA. It’s built with a definite off-road bias, but with the promise of good road manners. A torquey thumper provides the power with the bare minimum in the way of safety or ride-quality features to deliver an essential riding experience.
EV Motorcycle News: April 2020
The coronavirus shutdown may be in effect, but the electric-vehicle sector chives on with continued development and product releases. I have a whole handful of products to tell you about that range from scooter-like bikes to full-on, Energica-style superbikes with an extra dollop of “super.”
Here’s a Sneak Peak at Harley-Davidson’s Flat Track and Café Racer Prototypes
It hasn’t been too awful long ago when Harley-Davidson announced it would be generating 100 new models for public consumption. Admittedly, many of the machines thus far have been variations on existing platforms – the Softail Standard, Fat Boy 30th Anniversary, and electric LiveWire, for instance – but the factory has some net-new goodness on tap as well, and we have a sneak peak at the proposed Flat-Tracker and Café Racer.
2021 BMW R 18
BMW finally resolves the curiosity it has been cultivating over the last year with the online (due to coronavirus concerns) unveiling of its boss new cruiser, the R 18. This model wants a chunk of the retro-cruiser market with a faux rigid rear end and old-school geometry, but it ain’t all about the looks. This machine carries the largest boxer-twin engine that Beemer has ever mounted in a bike frame. In spite of its simple, clean look, there is plenty of ride-control wizardry under the hood.
What your motorcycle needs from you during the COVID-19 pandemic
With much of the country shut down because of COVID-19 and most of us homebound, or at least restricted in our movements, we find ourselves with enforced free time on our hands. For some, this is an opportunity for self-improvement — you know, exercise, study, or whatever — but I submit to you, Dear Reader, that for motorheads, this is an excellent time to do that bike maintenance or custom work you’ve been putting off.
1951 Whizzer Pacemaker
No doubt about it, the motorcycle industry has a rich and interesting history. Sometimes we come across an item of importance for motorcycling history that isn’t actually a motorcycle as we think of it by today’s definition. Our subject is just such a machine: the Whizzer Pacemaker.
2020 KTM 890 Duke R
KTM added to its mid-range naked-sportbike bracket with the 890 Duke R, now available in North America. Essentially, the factory took its proven 790 Duke and buffed it with fully-adjustable suspension, racier ergos, and better anchors. An all-new powerplant gives a boost in power and torque along with a handful of rider aids to add an element of control over the ride characteristics.
How to keep riding your motorcycle during COVID-19 restrictions
“Stay at home, shelter in place, self-quarantine, and practice social distancing.” These are the messages we are receiving from The Powers That Be during this stressful time, but these simple, bottom-line messages don’t tell the whole story. While the details of the public mandates vary from area to area, there is still an emphasis on solo activities and being mindful of mental health. Essential travel only, is the rule, so why not use your motorcycle, weather permitting.
How is COVID-19 affecting the motorcycle industry?
The news is chilling and fears are heightened over the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, but as we evaluate our individual lives, our thoughts can’t help but turn to how this affects us and our activities. As motorcycle riders, we’re left to wonder, how is this affecting the motorcycle industry?
2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R
Honda expanded its Neo-Sports Café lineup with the new-in-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same café-tastic vibe as with the CB1000R, just in an entry level-size package. This naked little pocket crotch-rocket — or “Sport Naked” as the factory has dubbed the style — looks to pull in younger riders with a user-friendly, 286 cc powerplant and lightweight design. After a race to the bottom of the usable displacement range for the sport and naked genres, Honda is refining its bottom-tier rides.
1973 Kawasaki Z1
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. made an indelible mark on the world motorcycle scene back in 1972 with the unveiling of its 1973 Z1 model. The Z1 broke new ground as the first Japanese bike with a transverse-mount four-banger, and it’s widely recognized as the island nation’s first literbike with a 903 cc engine and thrilling performance for everyday riders.
2019 - 2020 Honda PCX150
Honda’s metro-tastic PCX150 scooter was on the receiving end of an upgrade last year. It included a facelift from stem to stern that further polishes its ’luxe metropolitan looks to bring more of the swank and swagger associated with the marque, and it comes paired with a more voluminous underseat storage area to increase its ’commuterability’.
2020 Vespa Sprint 50 S
Piaggio refreshed its Vespa Sprint 50 range for the 2018 model year and added an “S” version as its top-shelf offering within the family that carries over through 2020. This is Vespa’s sportiest line, and it’s made even more so by the new 4T3V powerplant and digital instrumentation package. Of course, that timeless Vespino look shines through all the modern touches to tie in with the factory’s long-running history and deliver an up-to-date riding experience.
2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
Indian Motorcycle brings classic and contemporary together for its limited-edition Roadmaster Elite. Powered by the new, 116 cubic-inch Thunder Stroke plant and enhanced with top-shelf infotainment features as well as safety equipment, the Roadmaster Elite serves as Indian’s Flagship entry in the tourbike bracket and looks like it’s set to take on its domestic competition.
2020 Zero SR/S
EV bike builder Zero Motorcycles beefs up its street-centric offerings ahead of the 2020 model year with its new SR/S. This ride carries a bit more in the way of bodywork than usual to break new ground for the marque, but the grunt-tastic performance remains in line with its super-naked sibling, the SR/F. As with most of the rest of the on-road lineup, the factory has a full line of accessory goodies that let you mix and match for just the right combination of range and recharge times to suit your riding style.
2015 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS
The Ninja ZX-14R ABS continues to serve as Kawasaki’s non-H2 Ninja flagship as we head into the 2020 model year. Essentially unchanged since this generation hit showroom floors back in ’12, the “14R” brings almost a liter and a half of four-cylinder supersport-goodness to the table along with the ride-quality and safety subsystems you’ll need to keep it under control. Make no mistake; this is a serious ride meant for experienced riders, and not another one of these racebike-looking commuters so popular with the masses right now.
2020 Indian FTR Rally
Fresh off its European release, the 2020 Indian FTR Rally returns to home turf for a North American launch. The Rally comes set up more as a proper dual-surface scrambler than the street-centric, base-model FTR 1200 and souped-up 1200 S models. Power comes from the same 73 cubic-inch engine as the rest of the range with a set of stealth knobbies to make the connection to terra firma. To further the Rally’s multi-purpose mission, the factory offers a quartet of accessory bundles that add four more potential personalities.
2019 - 2020 Vespa GTS 300 HPE
The Vespa division of the Piaggio Group expanded its footprint in 2019 with a brand-new powerplant for the GTS scooter line with the GTS 300 HPE. Fans of the brand rejoiced at the news of the most powerful engine to make it onto a Vespone descendant, and for many, this is the engine they’ve been waiting for. Safety comes standard with a few traction-protection subsystems as part of the stock package, plus it features LED forward lighting to help you see and be seen. Best of all, it remains faithful to the design progression that began right after WWII, so it has that classic look that really seals the deal.
2017 - 2020 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Many adventure-bike manufacturers try to cover all the bases with a single model, but Austrian bikebuilder KTM splits its efforts to produce the 1290 Super Adventure S. Released for MY2017, KTM built the “S” to deliver long-distance comfort for riders who are looking for more than they can get from one of the Dukes. Wind protection, storage options and electronic safety systems take care of the usual ride-ability concerns, but this is a KTM folks, so you know it’s going to be very well-endowed in the power department as well, to the point of qualifying as a ’super’ adventure.
2019 - 2020 Vespa Sprint 150
Vespa’s Sprint line has always been distinguished by its modern design and youthful lines, and the newest versions of the colorful 150 cc Chrome Crest and decidedly-dark Notte models carry that appeal into 2020. Built for the younger buyer base with low-emission, high-mileage engine, and compact build, the small-frame Vespino are bestowed with modern electronics and technologies that increase rider safety. Those selling points should appeal both to the rider and the people who love them.
2020 Vespa Primavera 50
Vespa’s Primavera line marked its gold anniversary in 2018 with, among other things, a range of refreshed models in its 50 cc range: the Chrome Crest (CC), Yacht Club, and Touring. Each sports its own choice of colors and brings something unique to the table in its design, but the overall panache and proven, 4T3V engine technology are a constant across the board. Also available through the Primavera 50 is the Limited Speed variant that restricts top speed to 30 mph, allowing you to ride with a driver’s license and no motorcycle endorsement.
2020 Vespa GTS SuperTech 300 HPE
Vespa rolls into 2020 with the new GTS SuperTech 300 HPE as its top-shelf entry for the GTS Super line. The SuperTech carries the updated high-performance engine with a handful of electronic safety features to make your rides safe and comfortable. Special paint and trim sets this unit apart visually from the rest of the family and adds an air of exclusivity to the mix.
2017 - 2020 KYMCO Like 150i
The Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) takes on some pretty heavy hitters in the low-displacement scooter market with its Like 150i. The Like carries itself with an overall modern look that borrows from classic influences with tasteful results. Power comes from a thumper that rocks electronic fuel injection to help the Like meet U.S. emission standards. At a glance, it looks like good basic transportation. Add the Noodoe Smart system for connectivity, and it becomes more than that.
2020 Indian Scout Bobber Sixty
Indian Motorcycle treats us to a mid-year release with its new, stripped-down Scout Bobber Sixty. Crisp and clean, the Scout Bobber Sixty rolls with the essentials plus some minimally-intrusive safety electronics, all powered by the proven, 78-horsepower “Sixty” plant. Blackout is the word of the day for the Scout Bobber Sixty as it expands the Scout lineup into the less-than-$10k territory.
2021 Micro Microletta: Our First Look at the Newest Electric Three-Wheeled Scooter
Micro, the Switzerland-based electric-mobility company, premiers a brand new concept for EV fans who prefer to have their fists in the wind – the Microletta. It’s an electric scooter that combines the fun of a tandem-seat two-wheeler with the safety and stability of a Delta trike, and is not entirely unlike Piaggio’s MP3 in its configuration.
2019 - 2020 Vespa Sprint 150 Sport
Piaggio’s Vespa division beefed up its small-frame Vespino offerings with the MY2018 Sprint 150 Sport that serves as the top-shelf unit for the model family. The Sport line comes in its own distinctive color packages with a sticker package that further sets it apart from its siblings, but it’s the details that are less obvious at a glance that really makes the Sport special. Upgraded lighting and electronics boost safety and infotainment options as the icing on the cake.
2020 Vespa GTS SuperSport 300 HPE
Piaggio’sSport 300 HPE for the 2020 model year, the third such revision for the line over the last nine years, and it brings a new level of capability and tech to the market. Naturally, the old-school Italian charm comes stock with a number of visual improvements as well. Of course, the High-Performance Engine (300 HPE) serves as the almost-hidden crown jewel, and it sports a variety of improvements over the previous generation and comes complete with safety-related electronics to round out the package.
2018 - 2020 Vespa Sprint 50
Piaggio’s Vespa division renewed its classic Vespino design ahead of MY2018 with a new Sprint 50 Chrome Crest (CC) model and an accompanying blackout model, the Notte. The factory touts this smallest Vespa as a “green” model due to its stellar fuel economy, and a compact build makes its physical footprint as small as its carbon footprint. Timeless Italian style and a modern engine make these Vespinos ideal for students or commuters who are looking for a ride with class and taste with an eye toward environmental health.
Vespa’s Primavera 150 Sport builds on the Primavera CC (chrome crest) with a handful of unique paint packages and an upgraded instrumentation package. It sports the usual Italian good looks paying appropriate homage to the marque’s rich history but maintains a contemporary flavor that is confidence inspiring. Since the fuel consumption is just a few points shy of 100 mpg, the Sport delivers a very economic ride/commute.
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
Harley-Davidson makes some progress on its “100 new bikes” promise with the mid-year release of the new Softail Standard. The Standard presents a combination of old-school and custom features over a rather minimalist design, and that has the effect of keeping the price down to make this the least expensive Big Twin the MoCo has to offer. It also makes for a great starting point for you would-be bike customizers out there who are looking for a suitable platform.
2020 Vespa Sei Giorni II Edition
Vespa expands its mid-range models with the new Sei Giorni II Edition that pays homage to the marque’s past racing success. Following the success of the first Sei Giorni, the “Second Edition” pairs classic looks and specific racing references along with modern performance and safety electronics. Perhaps best of all, it boasts the most powerful engine ever to run under the Vespa badging, the 23.8-horsepower 300 HPE powerplant. If you like your tribute pieces both authentic and capable, this Vespa needs to be on your short list.
2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
Harley-Davidson marks three decades of production for one of its most-iconic families with the release of the 2020 Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary model. This machine proudly displays DNA from H-D’s immediate post-WWII era all the way down to the old-school frame geometry that mimics the rigid rear ends from way back in the day. Harley powers it with its largest production engine and wraps the whole project in a unique graphics package complete with a limited-edition serial number and 2,500-unit limited production run for an extra bit of exclusivity.
2018 - 2020 Vespa Primavera 150
After a fairly major update in 2015, Vespa’s Primavera 150 scooter was brushed up yet again ahead of the 2018 model year. This newest iteration brings a number of improvements to the table to include larger hoops, all-around LED technology with some aesthetic improvements to boot. In addition to the 150 cc base model, the factory also released a cargo-friendly Touring model and now there’s a Yacht Club variant for a nautical spin. It must be quite the undertaking to keep a model family relevant as long in the tooth as the Primavera, but Vespa doggedly stays the course and treats us to yet another handful of successors here half-a-century after the release of the original.
1932 - 1958 Rikuo RT2
Sometimes a motorcycle tells a story, and the Rikuo RT2 spins a tale of cooperation and national interdependency that preceded a period of strife with connections that contemporary readers may find surprising. It takes us back to the Great Depression, when the Harley-Davidson Motor Company struck a deal with Japanese manufacturer, the Sankyo Seiyako Corporation, and sold them the plans and tooling to produce their VL model in-country. The rest, as they say, is history, and this machine was named by The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan as one of the 240 landmark machines of the Japanese Automotive Technology. It also has the distinction of having served armies on both sides of the Pacific theater during World War II.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special
Harley-Davidson goes to the top shelf for the goodies on its 2020 Road Glide Special. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 powerplant carries over from the previous year, as does the well-rounded infotainment system and ABS protection. Harley’s Reflex™ Defensive Rider System (RDRS) is available as optional equipment, but if you like your paint to be a little on the wild side, the Special Edition model carries it as part of the standard equipment.
1958 Honda Super Cub
Every once in a while a machine transcends the constraints of time and taste to become a modern-day legend, and Honda’s Super Cub is just such a machine. From its humble beginnings back in 1958, the Super Cub (aka Honda 50 or Honda C100) has, according to sales numbers, grown into the most popular motorcycle. Ever. Back in 2018, the line passed the 100-million-unit mark, and I am old enough to remember when McDonald’s had served fewer burgers than that according to their sign out front, so that is a lot of units around the world.
2019 MV Agusta RVS #1
MV Agusta, the RVS #1 delivers outstanding stoplight-burner performance courtesy of its 140-horsepower engine, and it comes with all the electronic ride-control features you’ll need to keep this beast under control. Unique styling and an air of exclusivity serve as the icing on the visual cake to give the #1 a surplus of curb appeal that’ll make it stand out in any crowd.
2020 Piaggio Medley 150
Piaggio updated its Medley range with a host of top-shelf tech items and a facelift that mixes new aesthetic features with classic touches to set them apart from the previous generation. LED tech replaces the incandescent lighting with a new digital LCD instrument bundle to handle the pertinent metrics. Perhaps best of all is the new i-Get powerplant that pushes output up to the top of the range for the 150 cc displacement bracket to deliver GT-like performance in an around-town scooter.
1959 Triumph T120 Bonneville
The Bonneville model-family is arguably one of the most recognized in the world, and it is the embodiment of the quintessential British cruiser that had taken shape during the 1950s. Named after the motor-vehicle proving grounds at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the first example rolled in 1959 and launched a legend that persists to this day. This model represents the heyday of British dominance and was one of the bikes to beat on both street and strip.
Ducati rolls into 2020 with an all-new flagship model for its Scrambler family; the 1100 Sport PRO. The Sport PRO builds on the base 1100 PRO to bring the best the factory has to offer. I’m talking about top-drawer electronics and Öhlins suspension equipment that collectively deliver safety and comfort with all the adjustments needed to dial in the ride to suit the conditions and/or your personal taste. Of course, it all comes wrapped around the proven, 80-plus horsepower, air-cooled L-Twin powerplant that delivers a deep torque well and a tractable nature.
2020 Triumph Tiger 1200 Desert
There’s nothing quite like a special-edition to spruce up a model family, and Triumph takes that to the bank with its new top-shelf Tiger 1200 Desert Edition. The “Desert” builds on the mid-grade, off-road-centric Tiger 1200 XCx with titanium and carbon-fiber touches and a model-specific “Sandstorm” paint package with Desert Edition graphics to set it apart visually from the pack. Of course, the factory maintains its premium electronics suite and active suspension system, and it drives it all with its proven 1,215 cc triple.
2020 Triumph Tiger 1200 Alpine Edition
Triumph Motorcycles has long been on the cutting edge of adventure-bike design with its venerable Tiger line, and the British giant expands it top-displacement, mid-range technology bracket with the addition of the Tiger 1200 Alpine for MY2020. Special paint and graphics set the Alpine apart visually from the rest of the family, and under the “hood”, Triumph’s premium electronics suite works to keep it dirty-side down. The in-line triple delivers well over 100 ponies with almost 100 pounds o’ grunt to drive the Alpine over the hills and dales it was designed to conquer.
2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Kawasaki’s Ninja family has been a household name for over three decades now, and the factory aims to keep it that way with a couple of new-in-2019 models in the liter-bike range: the ZX-10R base model and its KRT variant. Toward that end, Kawi boosted power through a number of individual improvements in the engine. The engineers also added a few items that will certainly endear these siblings to the hearts of the race fans and wannabe knee-draggers out there and the electronics were upgraded with even more fandanglery on the menu.
2017 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide
Harley-Davidson updated its sharknosed Road Glide in 2017 and replaced the little-loved Twin Cam engine with its new Milwaukee-Eight powerplant, a combination that persists into model-year 2020. There were a handful of aesthetic adjustments made over that span, but the model remains pretty much as it was when it hit the showroom floors in MY17. On the current-year model, top-shelf infotainment capabilities join with a plush suspension system and a half-dozen paint packages to deliver the comfort and style H-D riders expect, and the Mil-8 107 engine turns out the torque that we demand.
2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR
Italian heavy MV Agusta fills out its hyper-naked range with its drag-tastic, new-for-2020 Brutale 1000RR. This new liter-sized Brutale follows the design characteristics established by its predecessors, and is absolutely saturated with performance-enhancing features and top-shelf electronics to make it a threat on both street and strip. Windtunnel-tested bodywork finishes the package in style and contributes to its overall speed and stability to show a synergy in the design that is somewhat rare for a street-legal machine.
2019 - 2020 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
Triumph brings classic scrambler looks and modern performance together with its new-for-MY2019 Scrambler 1200 XE. The “XE” carries itself with plenty of the old-school standard DNA on display and an off-road bias that leaves no doubt as to how it’s meant to be used. Proper “any-road” hoops deliver the goods on just about any surface, but it’s the top-shelf safety electronics that really sell this Bonneville-powered ride. Triumph promises a machine with a true dual-identity.
2018 - 2019 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport
For MY2018, Ducati released the Scrambler 1100 Sport elevating the family line to a whole new level with some top-shelf suspension components and race-tastic livery meant to appeal primarily to the go-fast crowd. Much is shared with its big-bore siblings — chassis, engine, and electronics — but the Sport endeavors to increase the line’s inclusivity by drawing in those fiery-eyed pegdraggers.
2020 Ducati Scrambler 1100 PRO
Ducati fills out its large-displacement Scrambler lineup ahead of MY2020 with the Scrambler 1100 PRO that also doubles as the platform for the top-shelf 1100 Sport PRO. The 1100 PRO serves as a gateway vehicle so both new and experienced riders have a capable machine for their entry into the scrambler-tastic lifestyle. A liter-plus mill delivers 86 ponies, and the electronics include corner-sensitive safety features to help you keep it rubber-side down regardless of your experience level and the prevailing conditions.
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
Harley-Davidson makes progress on its 100-new-bikes promise with the mid-year release of the updated CVO Road Glide. Built with a bagger-tastic bent, the revamped custom Road Glide carries the largest production Big Twin the MoCo has built to date. Under the hood you’ll find H-D’s new safety and ride-quality electronics along with the usual top-shelf infotainment goodies, and it all comes wrapped in bodywork that makes a solid connection to the current popular custom culture.
2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
Yamaha’s Ténéré line expands down into the mid-range with the all-new Ténéré 700 (XTZ700). The “700” brings solid dual-sport capability to the adventure-touring range with an off-road bent that definitely favors soft terrain. Yamaha’s CP2 engine delivers the goods with a transmission and chassis tuned specifically for trips off the beaten path, much more so than its bigger brothers in the Super Ténéré family. After a race to the top, this model marks a new front in the battle for market supremacy as the factory seeks to fill in under the 1,200 cc units.
2017 - 2020 Suzuki SV650
Suzuki continued with the evolution of the SV650 line with the all-new-in-2017 SV650. Built on the success of the original SV650 that covered 1999 through 2008, and its offspring, the SFV650 “Gladius,” the new ride carries the SV DNA into a new generation. With a revamped 645 cc engine, it has more horsepower than ever before.
1955 - 1958 Yamaha YA-1
Post-War Japan gave rise to the beginnings of the Big Four even as it saw the launch of dozens of other small domestic motorcycle builders, and the Yamaha Motor Company owes its own genesis both to this era and to its first effort, the YA-1. Like so many of its counterparts, the YA-1 was a scant half-step up from the powered bicycles that preceded the motorcycles proper. But, after its success in various domestic racing events it found itself catapulted into the spotlight and into the prominence that would eventually build to the powerhouse of production we know today. The YA-1 was named one of the island nation’s 240 landmark automotive technologies by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan.
2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
After much speculation and anticipation, Honda finally released the all-new Super Cub C125 ABS to U.S. dealerships in January 2019, and will carry over into 2020. This iconic ride brings the same 124.9 cc powerplant that drives the popular Grom coupled with a semi-automatic, clutchless shifter, and four-speed gearbox delivering the same ease of operation that helped to make the original such a hit. A disc front brake and ABS bring the classic design closer to modern standards, but the looks are straight outta’ the ’50s for a genuinely dated vibe that is impossible to imitate. Entry-level pricing provides the icing for this charming little cake in order to endear itself to that critical market segment, but I’d argue that this ride is good for more than just as a trainer.
1975 - 1979 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing
The D-Type “Dream” of 1949 may have put Honda on the map, but it was the U.S. release of the Gold Wing in 1975 that eventually made the marque a power in the American touring market. Originally built as a power-cruiser, the domestic consumers had a different purpose in mind — long-distance touring — and with that a legend was born. The basic parameters had been established that would go on to create a family of bikes that, to this day, serve as a staunch competitor to American manufacturers Indian and Harley-Davidson, and enjoy a reputation for speed and agility as well as comfort.
2020 Aprilia RSV4 FW-GP
Aprilia reinforces its reputation as the Piaggio Group’s racebike division with its RSV4 “Factory Works” family line that delivers out-of-the-box track readiness, and the “GP” version resides at the top of the totem pole. This is Aprilia’s flagship public-sale racebike with all the best of what the Italian marque has to offer, and part of the overall price and delivery process involves factory training so you can get the most out of the machine. Make no mistake, this is a track-only bike with none of the equipment you’d need for safe and legal road operation.
2019 - 2020 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
Triumph Motorcycles bills its new-in-2019 Scrambler 1200 XC as an “all-road” machine that’s got what it takes to tackle everything you throw at it. Not quite as off-road-tastic as its sibling, the 1200 XE, it nevertheless delivers top-notch performance by anyone’s standards. Adjustable, long-stroke suspension components join a “scrambler-tuned” engine and wire wheels for the brown-top work, and for the blacktop, there’s a whole slew of electronic safety goodies that give the “XC” its split-personality. Bonneville power and classic looks come together in the XC.
2019 - 2020 Ducati Hypermotard 950 / 950 SP
Ducati revamped its Hypermotard range ahead of MY2019 with the 950 and 950 SP to replace its outgoing Hypermotard 939 models. The new 950 borrows from the supermotard world for general design and rocks sharper angles for a more aggressive look. The 950 dropped some weight compared to its predecessor and replaced it with ponies for greater performance across the board, and the “SP” comes with top-shelf suspension and wheels, plus an expanded electronics suite and carbon fiber components to sweeten the deal. The hooligan-bike sector isn’t what you’d call the most populated by any means, but I’ve already got some potential competitors in mind for Ducati’s newest jackass bikes.
1949 Honda Dream D-Type
Every motorcycle builder has that one model that, while it may not be first, is the one that put the factory on the map. For Japanese giant Honda Motor Company, the first motorcycle was the 1949 “Dream” D-Type aka “Type D or Model D,” though nobody living knows for sure who gave it the “Dream” name. The D-Type brought all of the elements of a proper motorcycle together with a 98 cc thumper. It did away with the need for a traditional clutch lever through a clever shifter and cone-clutch arrangement to appeal to a broader rider base through easier operation. Success would follow, though it was short lived, but a legend was born, first in the island nation and then on the world stage.
2019 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821 Stealth
The Ducati Monster can trace its heritage back to the ’93 Monster 900, and the new “Stealth” variant serves as what you might call a highly-functional tribute piece for that venerated machine. It totes the usual suite of electronic gadgets with Ducati’s Quick Shift feature added to the stock package, and it boasts 100-plus horsepower in a design that is, paradoxically, both sexy and stocky at the same time.
2018 - 2020 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS
Triumph refurbished its Speed Triple family ahead of MY2018, and the British giant carries its new-in-’18 Speed Triple S and Speed Triple RS straight over into the 2020 lineup. These two rides epitomize the “performance naked” subgenre with a stripped-down look. They come with an updated powerplant alongside a robust electronics suite on the base model that gets even better on the “RS” variant. Power, poise and control, the new Speed Triples seem to have it all.
2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS
Kawasaki makes inroads into the naked streetfighter market with the new-in 2017 Z650 and adds some brush-up changes for 2020. Drawing from the popular Ninja line, the factory gave the Z650 that 649 cc parallel twin and put it in a new, lighter weight frame for improved handling and a exponentially greater fun factor.
2020 MV Agusta Rush 1000
MV Agusta built the Rush 1000 with a single purpose in mind: drag strip domination. The factory took its 200-plus horsepower Brutale engine and mounted it in a bike that, in true dragster tradition, carries only what is needed to function. No weight is wasted on superfluous equipment or body panels to convert as many of those ponies as possible into brute acceleration. Those weight-savings measures extend to the engine and include the use of titanium to reduce the reciprocating mass of the mill and deliver faster revs. The electronics suite is all about that drag-tastic life to deliver the safety and control you’ll need to manage the power and keep the thing rubber-side down.
2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821
Newly revised in 2018, the Monster 821 from Ducati benefits from some trickle-down engineering from its big brother, the Monster 1200, and a host of new design touches all its own. A new tank, tail section, headlight and muffler gives it an all-new variation on the classic Monster look with due consideration for the original Monster 900. Duc’s Testastretta L-twin powerplant serves up streetfighter performance with 109 horsepower tucked away in the stable and a host of safety systems to aid the rider in keeping it all under control. Not an entry-level ride by any stretch of the imagination, the Monster 821 does offer an experienced rider a mercurial platform that can shift personalities at the touch of a button for a wide range of conditions and skill levels.
2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R
Many of the major players offer a pure-D racetrack hypersport for the public’s consumption, and for Kawasaki, that honor falls to the freshly updated Ninja H2 R. The H2 R brings to the table the best Kawi has to offer along with top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine on top of a full electronics suite making it a threat on the track right out of the box. That’s about the only place it’s a threat though, since the H2 R is far too awesome to be street legal, and as a track-only bike, it wastes not an ounce on any silly old mirrors, headlights, or turn signals. Carbon-fiber components complete the package with their own brand of lightweight strength.
2018 - 2020 Honda Monkey
Honda puts out a lot of fun products, it’s true, but few machines can match the level of whimsy you get from the Honda Monkey. That’s right folks, the iconic “Monkey Bike” that served as a mini self-Uber in Japanese amusement parks back in the ’60s is back with a new look and powerplant for what the factory surely hopes is a new era of monkey madness. The 2019 update of this little pocket bike bears the genetic markers of the original without being a slave to it with a 9.25-horsepower modern powerplant, larger wheels (thank goodness) and disc brakes.
TJ’s Top Ten Picks For The Most Significant Bikes In Motorcycling History
What goes into moving a particular motorcycle into the “Historically Significant” category? That depends upon whom you ask, of course. What their priorities are, how far back in history they are interested in delving and even upon which surfaces the bikes are built to travel. Verily I say unto thee; the possibilities are legion. With that in mind, I want to tackle that question myself today, but first I will qualify what it means to me for the purpose of this article. Some will be mechanical marvels of their time, and some will be rather mundane yet have astronomical sales figures as an indicator of consumer popularity. I’m going to stick to street/road bikes and exclude off-road machines, plus I’m going to leave scooters alone as well ’cause they have their own history and deserve to be looked at as a major branch on the two wheeled-tree unto itself. As far as how deep I’m willing to go into the annals of history, I’m going to say “all the way.” Let’s get to it.
2017 - 2019 Ducati Monster 797 / 797 Plus
Ducati added to its “Monster” family in 2017 with the accessible and relatively rider-friendly “797” version of its popular naked bike. This ride uses the same 803 cc mill that drives the full-size Scramblers, so while it isn’t a net-new engine, it is a proven one. Dual front brakes with ABS, Pirelli tires and fat Kayaba forks are but some of the features included in what looks to be the closest to an “entry level” ride that the Monster family has managed to date. I was eager to take a look at this new ride ever since it was revealed at the Milan show, and what I see so far does not disappoint. In 2018, the Monster 797+ replaced the base model with some extra goodies added in.
2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800
Italian marque MV Agusta throws its hat into the retro-tastic ring in 2020 with its Neo-Classic Racer model, the Superveloce 800. Clearly a modern machine, the factory managed to incorporate the flavor of the old café racers to deliver an interesting blend indeed. A high-compression triple delivers 148 horsepower with an electronics suite that gives the machine multiple personalities to match your own attitude and skillset. Make no mistake, this is a racebike through and through, but one built for the road rather than the racetrack, just like the original café racer bikes.