TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.

In his bid to join the U.S. Navy, T.J took a vocational college course in Auto Mechanics when it became apparent he had a strong mechanical aptitude. Afterwards, he worked as an engineer on crewboats in the offshore oilfields where he gained more knowledge specific to the maintenance and repair of marine diesels. Having grown up around motorcycles, TJ had a passion for bikes and expanded his knowledge base specific to motorcycles by starting his secondary education at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida in 1994. He graduated in 1995 with a certification to work on any of the Big Four and a specialty in Harley-Davidson to include early models through the Evolution years. He worked as the lead mechanic at a small aftermarket shop for a time and then became parts manager for an H-D dealership while also working as a club mechanic for a local M.C. Since then, he has worked as a commercial fisherman in both diesel boats and gasoline outboard boats and has added those drive systems to his repertoire, all the while owning a number of H-D and Honda motorcycles that he maintained, customized, and repaired himself. TJ started writing DIY repair articles and general mechanic pieces in 2010 for a number of different outlets, and his love of motorcycles landed him at Topspeed in 2015. TJ continues to ride and work on his own bikes and shares his motorcycle expertise with his readers.

Follow me on Twitter: @hinton_tj

About the author
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2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821

2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821

It’s the epitome of what a naked sportbike should be

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.

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2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R

2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R

With Top-Flight Aerodynamics And A Supercharged Engine, The H2 R Is Far Too Awesome To Be Street Legal

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.

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TJ's Top Ten Picks For The Most Significant Bikes In Motorcycling History

TJ’s Top Ten Picks For The Most Significant Bikes In Motorcycling History

Bikes that changed, or even created, the landscape that we enjoy today

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.

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2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800

2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800

The F3 800-derived engine is a performance monster

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.

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Honda Gold Wing Tour

Honda Gold Wing Tour

A host of improvements give it even better handling than before

Honda shows its commitment to continual improvement with its 2020 array of top-shelf, tour-tastic Gold Wing models. The Gold Wing range received a handful of improvements to include reworked heads and cylinders that reduce the weight of the drivetrain plus stock foglights and revised ergonomics to boost performance, safety, and comfort across the boards. Of course, this comes on top of the speed and handling for which the Gold Wings have long been famous to make it a serious competitor in the U.S. touring market.

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2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally / Rally Pro

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally / Rally Pro

More power and more torque in the low range, it’s a whole new generation of Tiger

Triumph’s new Tiger 900 line covers an array of bases throughout its range, but while the base model and GT versions are built for urban touring/commuting, the Rally and Rally Pro are clearly geared toward off-road work. Long-stroke suspension components and laced wheels set the tone with the full spectrum of ride-quality and safety systems, several of which benefit from the IMU to deliver corner-optimized performance both on-road and off. All of this delightfulness rides on an all-new chassis with an also-new, 888 cc powerplant that cranks out 10-percent more grunt than the previous “800” to drive your multi-surface adventures.

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2020 BMW F 900 XR

2020 BMW F 900 XR

BMW put an XR in its mid-displacement GS lineup

BMW buffed its mid-size adventure-bike range with the new-for-2020 F 900 XR model that builds on the equally new F 900 R roadster. The XR is built as an on-road tourbike/commuter on a new chassis with a new plastic-welded gas tank and a handful of top-drawer electronic safety and ride-quality control features to polish off the package. A new parallel-twin engine drives the XR with nearly 100 ponies on tap to drive your asphalt adventures.

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2020 Honda Gold Wing

2020 Honda Gold Wing

A revamped suspension and updated features make for an even better Gold Wing

Honda greets the new decade with a buffed-up, base-model Gold Wing range that’s best described as a BNG-Plus treatment with a few extra goodies thrown in. The sheet metal comes shot in a new, monochromatic finish with generous blackout treatment over the rest of the machine to take a deep dive into Honda’s dark side. Updated damping values tune up the suspension system along with improved electronics to complete the package. Of course, this is all accompanied by the performance and handling that has always held the Gold Wing in good stead and keep the line in an excellent competitive position within the U.S. market.

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2020 BMW R nineT /5

2020 BMW R nineT /5

Buyers have the best of both worlds for a balance between homage and haul-ass

The half-century mark is an important milestone for any motorcycle manufacturer, and BMW Motorrad celebrates by building the retro-tastic R nineT /5. This is actually a fairly faithful visual representation of the original R 50/5, R 60/5 and R 75/5 that populated the streets back in 1969 and on into the early ’70s. A 110-horsepower, modern boxer engine drives this tribute piece with all the contemporary electronics and features “under the hood” that we’ve come to expect from our meticulous Bavarian friends.

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2020 BMW F 900 R

2020 BMW F 900 R

BMW’s replacement for the F 850 with more horsepower and a fatter torque curve

BMW Motorrad finally gave its mid-size sportbike range a much needed update ahead of MY2020 with its new F 900 R roadster. Built for fun, the F 900 R delivers the goods with a new chassis, new all-plastic fuel tank, and a bevy of electronic systems for ride-quality and safety control. A new, parallel-twin powerplant drives your on-road adventures with almost 100 horsepower on tap, and as always, BMW has a well-rounded accessory line that pulls from the top shelf to boost its capabilities even more.

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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure

Suzuki adds to its lineup with a mid-displacement adventure-ready V-Strom

If you’re looking for a mid-displacement adventure bike that will actually handle some off-road work or a solid commuter for the urban jungle, then Suzuki’s 2020 V-Strom 650XT Adventure should be on your short list. This model builds on the 650 platform and it boasts extra protection for both bike and rider along with stock dry-storage and a proven V-twin powerplant. As usual, Suzuki rounds out the package with a bevy of proprietary ride-quality electronics to back up the various variables built into the mechanics of the bike to deliver a customizable riding experience.

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2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

An heir to the RSV4 dynasty, it’s the epitome of a thrill machine

Aprilia rolls into the new decade with its racebike-inspired Tuono V4 1100 RR. The factory drew on its own not-inconsiderable WSBK experience to turn out this track-capable ride, and the targeted demographic would be those riders who actually aspire to hit a closed-circuit or road course. A 175-horsepower V4 plant delivers the goods with a full array of revamped, race-centric, ride-quality electronics and corner-sensing technology to complete the package. Essentially, what we have here is a liter-sized superbike with some of the bodywork stripped down to produce a very capable naked streetfighter.

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2020 Honda Rebel 300 / 500

2020 Honda Rebel 300 / 500

Honda’s iconic Rebel, now with a slip-and-assist clutch

Honda rolls into the new decade with the first overhaul to its newest-generation Rebel range. It has only been a few years since the classic Rebel line was replaced by the current iteration, and the added features are largely due to feedback from the new rider base. New suspension components improve the ride along with upgrades to the lighting and clutch pack to increase overall safety and expand its buyer base.

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2020 Triumph Thruxton RS

2020 Triumph Thruxton RS

It’s the original café racer, but with more power and better handling

Triumph Motorcycles took last year’s Thruxton R and levied a bevy of improvements to create the new-for-2020 Thruxton RS. The tuneup is far from just being a facelift. Power increased almost 8 horsepower on the torque-rich powerplant, the bike dropped about 13 pounds from its curb weight, and grunt comes on earlier for a broader, more useful powerband. Triumph finished it off with top-shelf safety electronics, contemporary style, and a two-tone paint package over a blackout frame and powerplant.

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2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory

2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory

It’s real racebike experience in a naked-sport package

Aprilia created the 2020 Tuono V4 1100 Factory to deliver real racebike experience in a naked-sport package for riders who may actually get beyond the parking lot at the local track. Since Aprilia acts as the racebike division of Piaggio & C. SpA, it brings considerable trackside expertise to the end product for a genuine racebike experience no matter where you ride. V4 power drives an aluminum chassis with robust ride-control electronics with a definite bias for track use, and it comes adorned with weight-saving carbon-fiber bits and bobs to minimize mass. This is a serious bike for serious riders. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low price that slides in just below the $19k mark. That accessibility doesn’t fully express its overall worth as you shall soon see.

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2020 Triumph Tiger 900

2020 Triumph Tiger 900

New from the ground up, it’s a whole new generation of Tiger

Triumph up-sized its outgoing Tiger 800 adventure model ahead of MY2020 to create the all-new Tiger 900. This machine serves as a platform for a number of upscale stablemates, but today I want to focus on the base model. The factory balances capabilities and cost to deliver a bike that can both tour and serve as a daily commuter. The safety electronics covers the basics and come bundled with a handful of ride-quality controls for push-button personality changes to round out the package and give the 900 a bit of versatility.

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2020 Indian Roadmaster

2020 Indian Roadmaster

Old-School Luxury On The Outside; Modern Tech And A New Engine On The Inside

Indian Motorcycle made a number of changes to its touring lineup ahead of MY2020 including a new powerplant for its full-dress Roadmaster. The base-model Roadmaster hits important historical high notes and maintains the full-size front fairing, but the real news here is the addition of the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine that toes the family line and pumps out over 120 pounds of stump-pulling torque. Comfort and luxury for the every-rider are the hallmarks of the Roadmaster, and it delivers with its usual style and aplomb.

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2020 Energica Eva Ribelle

2020 Energica Eva Ribelle

New For 2020 With Amazing Range And Recharge Rates

Italian EV bike builder Energica rolls into the 2020 model year with something a little different; the new Eva Ribelle. This newest offering rocks a naked-sportbike look in a bid to expand its footprint while it acts as an ambassador for the electric sector in general – a genre that’s still scrabbling for mainstream acceptance. The Eva Ribelle relies on a new 21.5 kWh powerpack to deliver an impressive range, and it comes complete with a full ride-quality electronics suite and surprisingly fast recharge capacity along with safety equipment that should make it competitive against the current smoker bikes.

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2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT / GT Pro

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT / GT Pro

It’s everything we loved about the Tiger 800, but on a whole new level

Triumph’s new-for-2020 900 GT and 900 GT Pro brings an urban bias to its multi-surface, adventure-bike Tiger line making it a good prospect for long-range/touring riders as well as those looking for a solid commuter. Power comes from an all-new, 900 cc plant, but the real star of the show is the electronics suite that delivers safety along with push-button personality changes to give this pair extra flexibility. The question is whether it’s enough to be genuinely worthy of the Gran Turismo moniker.

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2020 Aprilia RS 660

2020 Aprilia RS 660

For those who shop by performance and technology-per-dollar, this RS 660 is for you

Aprilia, the racebike-building division under the Piaggio & C. SpA umbrella, treated us to a glimpse at the future during 2019 EICMA with the unveiling of its new RS 660. The RS 660 rolls with windtunnel-tested bodywork that aids comfort and stability over a new, parallel-twin powerplant. A robust electronics package comes standard, so you can count on top-shelf safety and ride-quality gadgets to help you keep it between the lines.

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2019 Triumph Speed Twin

2019 Triumph Speed Twin

A Modern Version Of Triumph’s Most Iconic Bike

Triumph expanded its “Modern Classics” lineup ahead of MY2019 with the new-in-’19 Speed Twin as a tribute piece paying visual homage with all the modern-ness you’d expect tucked away under the hood and out of sight. The result is a clean-looking classic with gobs of retro appeal, and that’s an important detail because the newest generation of riders has shown themselves to have an interest in the old-school looks, much to their credit. So let’s take a closer look at Trumpet’s newest Speed Twin, not the first of its name.

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2017 - 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650 / V-Strom 650XT

2017 - 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650 / V-Strom 650XT

The 2017 update made it a contender

Suzuki’s V-Strom is definitely one of the major players on the adventure bike market. A few years ago, Suzuki made the decision to drop the V-Strom 650 Adventure, which it has since brought back, and focus its energies on the base model 650 and 650XT. The result is palpable with a number of improvements made in the 2017 model year that will likely endear these rides to their fans even more. Now we have more power, plus a traction control system to help manage said power as well as some nifty aesthetic tweaks.

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2018 - 2020 Suzuki SV650X

2018 - 2020 Suzuki SV650X

It’s a spunky mid-displacement café-style SV for your riding pleasure

Suzuki expanded its SV650 roadster lineup for the 2019 model year with a café-tastic SV650X ABS. The “X” adds some subtle changes to the bodywork, plus a not-so-subtle bullet fairing to make that crucial historical connection to the target era sometime back in the seventies. The suspension system was updated for the whole SV650 family across the board, and it brings a spring-preload feature to the front end that is difficult to match at this price point and genre. Power comes from the same 645 cc twin that pushes the rest of the family with 75 ponies ready to go and a handful of electronic fandangelries to help manage them.

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2020 Suzuki Katana

2020 Suzuki Katana

The Reinterpreted “Samurai Sword” Heats Up The GSX-S Stable

Suzuki reaches back all the way to the early ’80s for the design inspiration behind the new 2020 Katana GSX-S1000SM. The reinterpreted “samurai sword” serves as a sportier alternative to Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 platform for those who are looking for an everyday ride with roots. Modernized looks pair with a modernized drivetrain in an attempt to revive the line, and of course, it rocks the expected ride-quality adjustments that are nearly ubiquitous at this point even if they aren’t quite guaranteed in this genre.

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2019 - 2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT

2019 - 2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT

A new chassis and MT-09-derived engine put the “sport” in sport-touring

Yamaha was busy last year adding a brand-new name and refurbished looks to its lineup with the Tracer 900 and a slightly more tour-tastic Tracer 900 GT. Fans of the FJ models — and indeed the FZ/MT-09 range — will recognize the 113-horsepower, 847 cc triple and adventuresome flavor of this new sport-touring family. The base model landed somewhere near the “sport” end of the sport-tour spectrum, though it wasn’t carried forward to 2020 in our market. The GT model is a bit more balanced with a set of hard-side panniers that provides some secure dry storage and a host of features that long-distance riders will certainly appreciate.

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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark

Ducati unveils its new Prince of Darkness

Ducati’s Scrambler line has proven popular with the masses, and the factory expands its footprint further with its new Icon Dark. The “Dark” brings all the usual Scrambler-tastic charms to the table along with a custom bent meant to give would-be customizers a gentle nudge down that homegrown-bike path. It rocks the same 73-horsepower, 803 cc L-twin as the rest of the mid-range Scramblers along with the usual electronics suite, but it takes a turn toward the Dark Side with ample blackout paint and a monochromatic finish on the sheet metal.

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2016 - 2020 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S

2016 - 2020 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S

The Sport-Cruiser That Really Is A Cruiser Sportbike

It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when I think of Ducati, or even the third, yet here we are with the XDiavel and its slightly dressier “S” stablemate carrying the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” signifies the cross and blending of the two worlds — cruiser and sport — and the end result is what the factory calls a “Techno-cruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand. Powered by a 1,262 cc Testastretta engine, the XDiavel duo put the “sport” in “sport-cruiser” and opens the performance field to folks that ordinarily wouldn’t have such an option.

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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure

It’s Suzuki’s new flagship globetrotter with more power and enhanced rider amenities

Suzuki produced a next-gen V-Strom 1050 ahead of the 2020 model year with a revised frame, tuned powerplant, and updated electronics, and it builds on that platform to deliver its new flagship globetrotter, the V-Strom 1050XT Adventure. The historical design references are every bit as strong in this model as they are in its somewhat less-noble siblings with plenty of old-school DNA in evidence, but it’s the under-the-hood, ride-quality fandanglery and stock dry-storage capacity that puts it over the top.

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2019 - 2020 Piaggio Liberty

2019 - 2020 Piaggio Liberty

Piaggio brings a proven i-get engine and ABS protection in small displacement ride

Piaggio brings its not-inconsiderable scooter experience to bear on its Liberty line to deliver the goods with the new-in-2019 versions of the Liberty 150 and Liberty S 150 models that carry over into MY2020. The proven i-get powerplant reprises its role as the beating heart with highway-friendly speed potential and Euro 4 emissions compliance. Both models come with ABS protection to help you keep it dirty-side down. All of this pairs with that unmistakable Italian style across the board, and of course, the “S” variant brings even more eye candy to the table with custom paint and saddle stitching to breathe new life into the 20-plus year old model family.

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2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

KTM’s flagship hyper-naked model has a new chassis, improved electronics, and reworked engine

Austrian bike builder KTM revamped its top shelf naked bike — the 1290 Super Duke R — for MY2020, and it treated the world to a first glimpse at 2019 EICMA. This newest Super Duke R represents a natural evolution and a rather radical reimagination of KTM’s flagship hyper-naked model to include a new chassis, revised electronics, and reworked engine that together deliver more of what made the Super Duke R such a popular machine in the first place. All of this comes with re-imagined aesthetics that adds new visual elements to the unmistakable KTM panache.

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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H

The Elettrica Now Has Greater Top Speed And Four-Hour Recharge

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.

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2016 - 2020 Yamaha SMAX

2016 - 2020 Yamaha SMAX

A Minimal-Displacement Highway-Legal Sport Scooter

Yamaha’s new-in-2016 SMAX scooter features a 155 cc engine, which knocks it off the usual tier-license tables, but brings us a minimal-displacement highway commuter option for the U.S. market. The unusual engine size puts the displacement just over the line making it legal to hit the interstate and second now in size to the XMAX in the Yamaha scooter stable for 2020.

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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT

Its Heritage Goes Back To The ’88 Paris-Dakar Rally Bike Based On The DR750S

Suzuki builds on its new retro-tastic V-Strom 1050 platform to produce the even more capable V-Strom 1050XT. The 1050 XT has an improved electronics suite along with its enhanced engine performance and classic looks. The addition of an inertial-measurement unit brings a corner-sensitive element to the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) to put this ride near the top of the technological totem pole as it were. This is most definitely a de facto long-distance adventure tourbike built with an eye toward comfort and safety.

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2018 - 2020 Yamaha XSR700

2018 - 2020 Yamaha XSR700

The First Bike Under Yamaha’s ’Faster Sons’ Banner

Part of Yamaha’s700 is based largely on the proven MT-07 platform. It is a reinterpretation of a vintage design for a modern-retro look, clearly meant to draw in the hipster/Millennial crowd, as well as those with an appreciation for classic design elements. It’s not all about looks, though, the mill churns out a claimed 73.8 horsepower and 50.2 pound-feet of torque to push the 410-pound wet weight, so there’s no shortage of thrills to be had on Yamaha’s mid-size roadster.

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2020 Piaggio Beverly 350

2020 Piaggio Beverly 350

A Proven Highway Commuter Is Now Even More Capable

Piaggio rolled into 2019 EICMA with a new 2020 Beverly lineup that covers a range of variants, but the only one that makes it to our side of the pond is the BV 350, a moniker only used in the U.S. market. This model is essentially a renamed Beverly 350 S ABS/ASR, so it brings the same level of rider protection and rideability to the table in a bid to grab some of the urban-commuter market. It also packs a wallop with a 30-horsepower engine that’ll push the scooter up to interstate speed making it a definite candidate for young urban professionals and well-heeled students alike.

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2021 KTM 890 Duke R

2021 KTM 890 Duke R

KTM Unveils Its "Super Scapel"

KTM added to its mid-range naked-sportbike bracket with the 890 Duke R, and it looks like it’ll make it over to our side of the pond just in time for the 2021 model year. 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.

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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050

A New Rally-Style Look, Updated Electronics, And Upgraded Engine Performance Are Part Of The Package For 2020

Suzuki unveiled its new V-Strom 1050 line at the 2019 Milan show with an aggressive new look and expanded capabilities meant to make it easier to range hither and yon over a variety of surfaces. In addition to the new rally-style look, updated electronics and upgraded engine performance are part of the package for MY2020. The V-Strom 1050 serves as the platform for the top-shelf “XT” models but even the stock base model comes packed with upgraded electronics and net-new tech to make it attractive and competitive within the adventure bike market.

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2019 - 2020 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

2019 - 2020 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

Its Off-Roadiness Goes Beyond Simple Aesthetics

The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled saw its first major update ahead of MY2019 after only two years on the market, and the new version has a handful of things to offer over and above the previous gen. It starts with the bones reinforced to better withstand the rigors of off-road riding and rally-style tires that are designed for same. Rideability and comfort was buffed along with the security system, and the electronics suite features an off-road-specific upgrade as well. Those are the broad strokes, but as ever, the devil is in the details, so let’s dive right in and start chasing them down.

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2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000

2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000

It’s A Technological Showcase On Two Wheels

Suzuki improved its GSX-R1000 ahead of MY2020 in a bid to “reclaim the King of Sportbikes crown” as the factory so succinctly puts it. This rebuild comes close on the heels of the last revamp that landed just a couple short years ago, but it adds some significant features, most of which can be found “under the hood” or in the electronics suite. A couple of tweaks to the frame tune handling characteristics while the cornering ABS feature and variable valve-timing engine carries over from the previous generation. All in all, Suzuki turns in a very streetworthy racebike that’s nothing short of a technological showcase on two wheels.

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2018 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400

2018 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400

The New Big Small-Displacement Ninja

Kawasaki took the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance, and affordability with the new-in-2018 Ninja 400. This ride delivers the aggressive styling that you expect from the Ninja family with a host of improvements over the previous generation. More power, less weight, and a mature presentation should hold the new Ninja in good stead in the highly-competitive small-displacement sportbike market that serves as the main battlefield in the contest to instill some brand loyalty in the increasingly important new buyer base.

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2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Racer 10th Anniversary

2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Racer 10th Anniversary

Moto Guzzi Celebrates 10 Years Of The V7 Range With A Numbered-Edition V7 III Racer

Moto Guzzi celebrates a decade of V7 Racer bikes with the 2020 V7 III Racer 10th Anniversary. The factory builds on the third and current generation V7 Racer with some café-tastic bodywork that sets it apart from the base model. There are Easter Eggs a’plenty from models past scattered about this celebratory machine to turn it into something of a rolling tribute piece. As with the rest of the V7 III line, power comes from the signature, transverse-mount V-twin with over 50 ponies on tap and a new, adjustable, house-brand traction control feature to help you keep it under control. Under the hood, wireless connectivity to web-based services brings an infotainment element to the table along with bonafide modern credentials.

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2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP

2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP

Honda Says "Born to Race" And We Agree

Honda spruced up its CBR1000RR-R SP superbike and plans to release it summer of 2020 as a 2021 model. The long-rumored updates will finally hit the road in the foreseeable future, and the factory even relented in its long-standing practice by actually using the “Fireblade” moniker in the U.S. market. The factory stuffed in its most powerful four-banger with over 200 ponies on tap and followed up with top-shelf electronics to turn out a machine that, in its own words, is “born to race.”

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2018 - 2020 Yamaha XMAX

2018 - 2020 Yamaha XMAX

Quite Sophisticated For Surprisingly Low Price

Yamaha brought the XMAX to the U.S. market with a 27.6-horsepower mill that promises enough speed to be safe, even comfortable, at highway velocities, and that’s muy importante in the American market. This performance comes bundled with a decidedly modern and mature look that just screams metro-commuter.

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2018 - 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Rough

2018 - 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Rough

It’s Almost There; Kinda ’Scrambler-Like’

Moto Guzzi expanded its V7 III footprint off the black and onto the brown with the new-in-2018 “Rough” variant. As its cleverly-ingenious name implies, this model comes set up to have some definite scramble-tastic tendencies with street-knobbies that perform as well on soft terrain as they do on the pavement. Like the rest of the family, power comes from a 744 cc V-twin that delivers 44 pound-feet of torque for solid holeshots and plenty of hill-conquering grunt. There’s plenty of that characteristic MG style as well, courtesy of the sideways engine mount and fuel tank design. Best of all, the Rough beefs up its entry-level bike claim with ABS and traction control that can be turned off for a raw ride, or enabled for maximum stability.

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2020 Ducati Panigale V4

2020 Ducati Panigale V4

Ducati Improves What Was Already Its Best-Selling Bike In The World

The MY19 Panigale V4 was Ducati’s best-selling bike worldwide, and the factory looks to build on that success through a host of improvements ahead of the 2020 season. Ducati’s engineers struck a balance by increasing rideability and potentially laptimes to deliver more of what made the previous generation such a hit. Top-shelf electronics and a 200-plus horsepower engine complete the package, and it all comes wrapped in low-drag, windtunnel-tested bodywork for both performance and curb appeal.

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2017 - 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special

2017 - 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special

Its DNA Harkens Back To The 1975 V750 S3

Moto Guzzi carries its “Special” into 2020 after the introduction of the V7 III family in 2017 that brought in a new engine and all-new frame. This is the third generation of ’Guzzi’s venerable V7 line, and the Special has DNA that goes all the way back to the V750 S3 of ’75 in a conspicuous display of its deep roots but keeps things purely modern where it counts. A new V-twin delivers ample ponies with that distinctive rumble and transverse orientation you’d expect, along with a traction control feature to help you keep it under control while accelerating. ABS overwatch for safe braking makes the Special suitable for entry-level riders and fun for experienced ones.

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2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700

We’re Still Waiting; Is It Worth The Hype?

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. Yammy’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, so let’s see where the balance between price and value lies on this newest and smallest Ténéré.

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2020 KTM 390 Adventure

2020 KTM 390 Adventure

KTM Put Big-Bike Features In A Small-Bike Package

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.

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2019 - 2020 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle

2019 - 2020 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle

Now With More Power And More Flat-Track Attitude

Ducati’s Scrambler Full Throttle was among the Scrambler models brushed up for the 2019 model year, and the revised version brings even more flat-track attitude to the table. The paint was spruced up a bit, along with the saddle to give the “FT” a year-specific finish. It ain’t all about the looks though; new electronics and safety equipment further increases its value right along with its curb appeal.

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First Look: Kawasaki Electric Concept

First Look: Kawasaki Electric Concept

Is Kawasaki Teasing Us Yet Again With An EV Model?

Kawasaki hit 2019 EICMA with a number of interesting items, but I think the most notable entry may be the sleeper-hit of the year; the EV Project. That’s right sports fans, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is showing us that they are looking at displaced-carbon/electric motorcycles, and the “Electric Concept” gives us our first glimpse of what the concept is like moving forward.

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2019 - 2020 Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S

2019 - 2020 Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S

The Engine Is A Testastretta L-Twin That Rocks Ducati’s Hot New Variable-Timing

Italian powerhouse Ducati hit MY2019 with an all-new pair of Diavel models for the sport-naked sector: the Diavel 1260 and 1260 S. Both toe the family line as far as aesthetics are concerned, and they run the same Testastretta powerplant so the differences between the two essentially come down to the trim package and chassis features. Performance and safety go hand-in-hand with a number of top-shelf electronic goodies to help you keep all that power under control. This bike is truly a rolling tribute to Ducati’s ingenuity, and the best is under the hood hidden away from plain sight.

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2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Supersport or Sport-Tourer: You Choose

Kawasaki steps up its game ahead of the 2020 model year with new body components, updated electronics, and a smoother-running engine for its Ninja 1000SX. The factory also tuned up the ergonomics in an effort to improve long-range comfort and even chucked on an adjustable clutch lever for a little bit of lagniappe. Improvements in rideability, control, and aesthetics join the liter-plus engine and Ninja pedigree to deliver a refined product to the masses.

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2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel

2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel

It’s The More Tour-Tastic Version of MG’s V85 Line

Italian marque Moto Guzzi treated us with an expansion to its V85 TT family at 2019 EICMA with its new V85 TT Travel. As the devilishly-ingenious name suggests, the “Travel” is a touring-oriented adventure bike that comes with a number of long-range comfort-related features meant to help you stay in the saddle longer. Power delivery is on par with the rest of the V85 range with a transverse V-twin “Eight and a Half” that cranks out 80 horsepower for your riding pleasure. Adjustable suspension components, traction control, and variable power-delivery modes round out the package.

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2017 - 2020 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S

2017 - 2020 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S

Panigale Flavor Without Superbike Danger

It was four years in the making, but Ducati finally released the revamped SuperSport family for the 2017 model year. This range brings sportbike handling and performance to the table with its race-inspired “Monster” frame and over 100 ponies on tap, but in a package meant to be less intimidating to prospective ’Ducatisti’ than some of their, shall we say, spicier models. The factory touts the new line as “versatile and accessible,” and while the base SuperSport is meant to appeal to riders who want a sportbike that’s a little light on the “sportier aspects,” the “S” model takes on some of the trappings of a proper racebike for a decidedly more sport-tastic nature.

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2020 Kawasaki Z900

2020 Kawasaki Z900

Kawasaki Kept The Engine And Put A New Bike Around It

Kawasaki beefed up its naked Z900 with even more under-the-hood updates for 2020 and an all-new look created by a wild new color combination. It may look a lot like the previous generation, but this model saw a ground-up rebuild that touched on just about everything but the engine with refinements across the board. While the 948 cc engine reprises its role as the beating heart of this machine, it also benefits from new electronic features in a bid to garner an advantage in the hotly-contested, sub-liter naked bracket.

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2020 Piaggio Medley 150

2020 Piaggio Medley 150

Piaggio Unveils the Medley Range With The New i-Get Engine

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.

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2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 / V4 S

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 / V4 S

It Has The Best Power-to-Weight Ratio Of Any Naked Bike Out There

Ducati stripped down its Panigale V4 superbike and made a handful of aesthetic and functional changes ahead of the 2020 model year to bring us the Streetfighter V4. The resulting machine is truly something to behold. The redesigned rider’s triangle and stripped-down visage of the Streetfighter V4 and V4 S are joined by a 200-plus horsepower Desmosedici Stradale engine and a robust electronics suite to round out the package and deliver the performance and control we expect from the Italian giant.

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TJ's Picks For Bikes To Watch Out Of EICMA 2019

TJ’s Picks For Bikes To Watch Out Of EICMA 2019

So Much To Pick From With New Models And New Electric Technology

Woo wee sports fans; it’s show season once again in Milan, Italy, and as always there’s plenty to see on the world stage at EICMA 2019. This year we see the return of Bimota in partnership with none other than Japanese giant Kawasaki, new EV bikes and scooters, and new adventure bikes from both Husqvarna and Harley-Davidson with the latter checking in with a new sport/street machine as well. There just ain’t enough hours in a day to cover every single detail, so today I’m going to grab a handful of the most significant bikes to be revealed so far.

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2020 Indian Challenger Limited

2020 Indian Challenger Limited

The Limited Is The Toppest-Shelfest Challenger In The 2020 Lineup.

No doubt about it, Indian Motorcycle entered a new chapter with its all-new Challenger line and PowerPlus engine, and so far, the toppest-shelfest example of that combination is the 2020 Challenger Limited. It has that custom bagger style that Americans like so much along with a host of electronic goodies that improve safety and comfort over the long haul. Of course, the 120-plus pound-feet of torque it brings to the table doesn’t hurt at all, neither does all the historical Easter eggs the factory scattered about to tie into its own storied history.

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2020 Kawasaki Z H2

2020 Kawasaki Z H2

It’s The Same Supercharged Engine As In The Ninja H2, But In A Naked, Streetfighter Chassis

Kawasaki’s H2 crossed family lines from the Ninja superbikes over to the “Z” supernaked range with the 2020 Z H2 model. This brings with it the supercharged engine that made waves when it landed in the top-shelf Ninjas to make this bike the flagship of the Z range. The magic doesn’t stop there ’cause Kawi blessed it with a veritable alphabet soup of electronic features that increase safety and rideability all at once. Best of all, the Z H2 wastes not an ounce on superfluous body panels, so the 100-plus pounds of grunt converts directly into acceleration to make it even meaner than the much-vaunted Ninja line, and the price schedule keeps it within reasonable reach for the majority of riders.

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2019 - 2020 Ducati Multistrada 950 / 950 S

2019 - 2020 Ducati Multistrada 950 / 950 S

Ducati Beefs Up The New Multistrada 950 With Hardware And Tech Borrowed From The 1260

Ducati spruced up its base mid-size 950 Multistrada ahead of MY2019 with a host of electronic rider aids, and in a first for the 950 range, the builder in Bologna put together an “S” variant with even more top-shelf fandanglery for your riding pleasure. The 950 range offers an alternative to riders for whom the 1260 model is just a little too much, and that makes it more suitable for the folks who are looking for a commuter-friendly, everyday ride. Street-oriented adventure bikes are rapidly replacing standards and sport-tourers as the favored choice du jour for urban travelers and weekend warriors, so this is an increasingly important bracket in which to perform.

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2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS

2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS

Kawasaki’s Hot Contender In The Middleweight Streetfighter Market

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.

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2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse

2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse

Indian’s New Sinister, Boulevard-Bruiser Dark Horse

Indian Motorcycle rolls into MY2020 with an all-new model family – the Challenger – that comes complete with a new look, powerful 122-horsepower PowerPlus engine and improved safety equipment to keep America’s oldest bike builder competitive against challengers domestic and abroad. The inaugural year sees a trio of packages ready for public consumption, but it’s the sinister, boulevard-bruiser blackout Dark Horse version we’re going to look at today. Like the rest of the Dark Horse category, it makes a visceral connection to the custom-life underbelly of American motorcycling and brings a showroom-custom vibe to the new Challenger line.

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2019 - 2020 Honda PCX150

2019 - 2020 Honda PCX150

The Update Gives It More Power, More Style, And More Utility

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’.

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2020 Kawasaki W800

2020 Kawasaki W800

It’s Plain And Simple Retro-Styling In A No-Nonsense Package

Kawasaki draws on its very own historical roots for the newest addition to its “W” range with the reintroduced-for-2020 W800. This authentically retro ride doles out a healthy dollop of nostalgia for the 40-plus crowd, but beneath the classic veneer beats the heart of a thoroughly modern machine. An air-cooled twin delivers the goods with over 40 pounds o’ grunt and many of the ride-quality electronic features riders have come to expect to round out the package.

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2018 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000

2018 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000

The Beauty Of A Gixxer Engine In A Naked Chassis

Engine upgrades joined other improvements in the 2018 model year as Suzuki pushes to keep its sport-standard-sector momentum going with the GSX-S1000. The family tree branched yet again with the new-in-2018, blackout GSX-S1000Z and Suzuki dropped the “F” in favor of the “FZ” for last year. The family now has even more of what it takes to dominate the street with a Gixxer engine in a naked bike chassis.

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2020 Indian Challenger

2020 Indian Challenger

New Styling, New Engine: It’s a Whole New Indian

Indian Motorcycle rolls into MY2020 with a net-new bagger family that also boasts an all-new powerplant with some serious ride-quality and safety features as the icing on the cake. The “Challenger” range marks a new era for America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer with impressive power numbers and a look that’s borrows from the past even while it reaches for new territory and, I’m sure the factory hopes, an expanded buyer base. Fixed fairings, new electronics, and a powerful engine are the hallmarks of this machine, and it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the market against its longtime domestic foe, Harley-Davidson.

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2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

It’s Ducati’s Most Tour-Worthy Multistrada To Date

Ducati’s Multistrada lineup is widely considered to be among the most capable touring-adventure bikes in the world, and the Italian giant ramps up the pressure another notch with its new-for-2020 Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour. Top-shelf features and long-distance, globetrotting comfort are the hallmarks of this new bike. It carries the Testastretta DVT engine with over 150 horsepower on tap, so this is far from an all-show/no-go sort of machine. Unique livery and striking graphics compliment the typically sensuous lines and curves that define Ducati’s look.

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2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R

2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R

Really More Of A ’Sport-Roadster’ Than A Cafè Racer

Honda expanded its Neo-Sports Café lineup with the new-in-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same café-tastic vibe that we got 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.

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2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

A Little Bit Retro, A Little Bit Café, And a Little Bit Gangster

Harley-Davidson expands the Sportster family with the new-in-2018 Iron 1200. Retro is in, so the ’70s-esque paint and custom touches drawn from that era give the Iron 1200 plenty of nostalgic value. Power comes from the venerable Evolution engine to the tune of 73 pound-feet of torque to give this ride modern performance that belies the dated veneer. A classic dish with custom spices, the new Iron 1200 raises the Iron stable’s displacement ceiling to draw new customers from a market that has been in decline for over a decade.

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2020 Ducati Panigale V2

2020 Ducati Panigale V2

Goodbye Ducati Panigale 959, Hello Panigale V2

Ducati heads into MY2020 with a revamped, low-displacement Panigale that the factory rebranded from the Panigale 959 to the Panigale V2. It’s a mixture of old and new with new body fairings over a modified monocoque frame, upgraded suspension components, and six-axis ride-quality controls to deliver extra safety on the road. Power comes from the Superquadro V-twin plant with over 150 ponies on tap to serve as the icing on the cake.

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2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883

2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Nothing Comes Out Of The Hole Like A Sporty

When Harley-Davidson makes changes to the Iron 883, they stay faithful to at least one important aspect – performance. While XL models have never been known as ’fast’ bikes, they certainly have a well-deserved reputation as ’quick’ bikes. Nothing in the Harley world comes out of the hole like a Sporty, or handles the corners like one, and the Iron 883 maintains that tradition with aplomb. Bikes like this show how the XL line has not only survived, but also thrived in the entry-level and sport-minded American markets.

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2020 Triumph Street Triple RS

2020 Triumph Street Triple RS

It Has A New Triple Overhauled By The Same Team That Developed The Moto2™ Engine

Triumph hits its top-shelf Street Triple RS roadster with a major overhaul ahead of the 2020 model year that includes aggressive tweaks to the overall look and an improved engine to back it up. The factory managed to eke out a 9-percent increase in torque and horsepower while it hits the important Euro 5 emissions-rating benchmark. Moderate ride-quality adjustments round out the ride with safety and infotainment as part of the standard package.

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2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500

2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500

It Has A Sportier Look And A New Attitude

Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range in 2017. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line features water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market.

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2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T

2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T

Suzuki’s Tried-And-True Middleweight Cruiser and Tourer

Suzuki unveiled the Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50T carry straight through into 2020 with a mid-displacement engine to serve as Suzuki’s mid-size cruiser and weekend tour bike. Smooth acceleration and comfortable seating combine with laced wheels and classic styling to keep the C50s on the list of middleweight contenders in the two-wheeled market.

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2018 - 2020 Honda Monkey

2018 - 2020 Honda Monkey

It Has A Notable Amount Of Techno Wizardry At This Price Point

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.

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2020 Indian Scout 100th Anniversary Edition

2020 Indian Scout 100th Anniversary Edition

Built As A Tribute To 100 Years Of The Scout Motorcycle

The first Indian Scout model first saw showrooms in 1920, so that means the model-name hits that incredible 100-year mark in just a few months. The 2020 Scout 100th Anniversary Edition is built as a tribute to that era on the thoroughly modern new Scout platform. Classic touches and design high points combine with the new Scout platform to deliver a potent dose of nostalgia along with 21st century performance.

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2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125

2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125

Small Size, Maneuverability, And Economic Operation Made It The Most Popular Motorcycle In The World

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.

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2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650

New Styling And Agile Handling Make It More ’Ninja’ Than Before

Kawasaki gave its Ninja 650 supersport a facelift ahead of MY2020 with aggressive new lines. Safety and visibility were increased through LED technology, and instrumentation moves into the 21st century with a TFT display to deliver the metrics. New tires and new networking technology round out the package along with engine performance and handling that made the last generation a hit.

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2020 Indian Chieftain

2020 Indian Chieftain

For 2020, Choose Between The Thunder Stroke 111 Or The New Thunder Stroke 116

Indian Motorcycle brushed up its Chieftain line for 2020 with a lean, slammed look, and a choice between its proven Thunder Stroke 111 and the new, more powerful Thunder Stroke 116. As always, the Chieftain brings classic bagger style to the table, and of course, Indian’s top-shelf infotainment system comes stock to keep it competitive against the other top baggers around the world. No matter which engine you choose, you can count on 100-plus pounds of grunt that make the Chieftains perform as well as they look.

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How Does The Domestic Electric Motorcycle Field Stack Up?

How Does The Domestic Electric Motorcycle Field Stack Up?

Will Harley-Davidson Be A Contender in the Zero Market?

No doubt about it, EV technology is coming on in leaps and bounds across the board, and the motorcycle field is no exception. There are a few domestic marques working on electric bikes at the moment such as the electro-centric Zero Motorcycles and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the former of which makes nothing but EV bikes and the latter offers only a single entry with its new LiveWire. There’s a third option in the lees with the Brammo-based Empulse model that was just starting to make a name for itself when its carrier, Victory Motorcycles, went tits up. That machine still falls under the Polaris umbrella along with Indian Motorcycle and we expect to see it again sooner rather than later, but we aren’t there just yet so let’s focus on what is actually ready to hit the road as of this writing.

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2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

Yes! "ES" Means Electronic Suspension

Honda expands its 2020 Africa Twin lineup with the addition of the CRF1100L “Adventure Sports ES” model that turns an already capable dual-surface machine into a terrain-gobbling off-road tour de force. A larger, more powerful engine and lower overall weight boosts performance, and handling is improved, as well, through the electronically adjusted suspension system. Also boosted, fuel-tank capacity is increased to extend the range and make the “ES” even more suitable for work as a bona fide globetrotter.

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2020 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse

2020 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse

The Star Of The 2020 Lineup Is The New Thunder Stroke 116 Engine

Indian Motorcycle carried over its popular Chieftain Dark Horse into MY2020 with much the same custom panache, but repowered it with the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine. Classic historical touches abound on this ride for a healthy dose of nostalgia, but of course, it rocks all of the factory’s electronic fandanglery to make it a thoroughly modern machine. Whether you want to do some light touring or just do some boulevard cruising, the 2020 Chieftain Dark Horse brings something to the table for you.

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2020 Yamaha MT-03

2020 Yamaha MT-03

Yamaha Brings Its Naked Entry-Level Ride To The U.S.

Yamaha expands its MT lineup (formerly the FZ in the U.S.) with an all-new, entry-level model, the 2020 MT-03. Previously available in other markets, it joins the MT-07, -09 and -10 within Yamaha’s hyper-naked range it touts as the “Dark Side of Japan.” The MT-03 toes the family line with minimalist appointments that waste not an ounce on superfluous details. Power delivery is both smooth and predictable to reinforce its rider-friendly nature. ABS protection provides an extra safety net to help make sure you keep it rubber-side down.

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2018 - 2019 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS

2018 - 2019 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS

It Has More Power, More Poise, And More Control

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.

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2018 - 2020 Triumph Street Triple S

2018 - 2020 Triumph Street Triple S

It Might Seem New-Rider Friendly On Paper, But It Really Isn’t

Triumph upped the ante in 2018 with a newly-redesigned base model for its Street Triple line and introduced the all-new-in-2018 Street Triple S. The “S” runs with the same naked roadster looks as its predecessor, but with revised bodywork, an all-new powerplant for greater performance and tweaks to the frame to better handle high-speeds. Electronic wizardry abounds in the form of a riding mode feature, traction control, and ABS to help you manage all that newfound power that comes with an impressive 113 horsepower, all for about $10k.

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2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750

2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750

It’s Certainly Not For The Faint Of Heart

Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2020 GSX-R750 carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984. Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R750.

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2018 Triumph Street Triple R

2018 Triumph Street Triple R

It Was A Long Time Coming

Triumph raises the bar with a mid-level upgrade to its base Street Triple model with the Street Triple R and Street Triple R Low. These two siblings take the family to a more sport-tastic level with a number of upgrades to go with its aggressive good looks, starting with TFT instrumentation and extra electronic engine-control features that see riding modes added alongside the TC system, and an on-board ride computer that monitors and displays fuel burn rates, ambient temps and more. A souped-up engine powers the pair with 116 ponies in the paddock that are just waiting to be turned loose and let run. Upgraded suspension components improve handling with beefier brakes to haul it down, but that’s just the broad strokes.

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2020 Indian Chieftain Limited

2020 Indian Chieftain Limited

The New Thunder Stroke 116 Engine Delivers A Thrilling Ride

Indian Motorcycle spruced up its Chieftain Limited ahead of MY2020 with a new color palette and abundant chrome treatment. It ain’t all about the aesthetics, though. The factory powers its revamped Chieftain Limited with the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine with over 120 pound-feet of torque on tap. Custom touches abound on this top-shelf bagger with the usual smattering of historical references to tie in with the factory’s storied past along with a modern electronics suite to round out the package.

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2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M50

2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M50

It’s A Muscle-Bike Look With A Tame Attitude

Suzuki’s Boulevard M50 cruiser carries into 2019 with more of that custom American style that made it popular ever since it evolved from the old Intruder. Low-slung good looks join the 42-horsepower, 805 cc V-twin and faux-rigid frame for a package that’s meant to drive the imaginations of entry-level riders who might appreciate the style but be uninterested in worshiping at the Altar of Harley. Moderate power and a low seat height makes it appropriate for the young and/or inexperienced, and the lack of excessive electronic fandanglery makes it relatively easy to service and maintain, which is always a bonus for the uninitiated.

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2020 Honda Africa Twin

2020 Honda Africa Twin

The New 1,084 cc Engine Has Seven Percent More Power

Honda’s globetrotting Africa Twin line has always represented a lot of bike for your buck, but the factory buffed that reputation ahead of MY2020 with a series of improvements that go far beyond the cursory “Bold New Graphics” that frequently makes up Honda’s upgrades. I’m talking about a new engine and updated transmission that deliver more power and control over a frame that drew from Honda’s not-inconsiderable experience with off-road machines. Top-shelf rider-aid electronics and finely-tuned comfort features round out the package to make the new Africa Twin an all-around winner on the global stage.

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2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T120 / T120 Black

2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T120 / T120 Black

Old-School Styling Outside, Modern Tech Inside

Triumph carries the Bonneville name into a new generation with the Bonneville T120 and T120 “Black.” Such a classic name deserves to be treated with dignity with a certain amount of retro appeal, and the factory took extraordinary steps to keep this ride as old school as possible. The designers didn’t go too far, though; a modern mill cranks out 80 ponies and over 77 pounds of grunt under a ride-by-wire throttle and traction control. A modern ride through and through, but with a very definite, and dated, curb appeal.

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2019 Norton Breitling Sport

2019 Norton Breitling Sport

Modern Tech Hides In The Classic Design With Styling That Is Elegant In Its Simplicity

British bike builder Norton Motorcycles teams up with Swiss watchmaker Breitling to turn out the Commando 961-based Breitling Sport Limited Edition for 2019. The bespoke Breitling Sport LE carries a number of special touches from the famed watchmaker to set it apart from the base-model Commando 961, and naturally, the watchmaker produced a companion wrist piece that’s meant to compliment the bike. While this isn’t the first bike-watch pairing in history, far from it, but it may well be the most exclusive.

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2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T100 - T100 Black

2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T100 - T100 Black

Bonneville Was Never Better Than This

Triumph started the Bonneville legacy all the way back in 1959, and it is a name that the factory is still taking to the bank today. The newly-repowered “Bonnie” T100 and T100 Black boast a 900 cc mill set in what is more or less a T120 chassis. At 59 horsepower, the T100 plant makes for a newbie-friendly riding experience while the weight savings around the bike imparts a nimble nature that you don’t really feel with the big-brother T120. Classic looks abound on the base model, while the “Black” takes a turn down memory lane to the heyday of garage custom standards with a large dose of blackout treatment for a more sinister look. So, not only do we have a bit of a spread on design, but we also have a balanced machine that can introduce folks to the joys of riding while remaining fun enough to keep experienced riders interested. If that sounds good to you, read on to see what else the T100 family has to offer.

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2020 Indian Chief Vintage

2020 Indian Chief Vintage

The Look Is Classic And Elegant, And Now With A Sportier Chassis

Indian Motorcycle puts its historical high points on full display with its nostalgic Chief Vintage model. The chassis – straight off the Springfield and Springfield Dark Horse – is new to the Chief Vintage for 2020. It has neo-retro components for a modern machine that looks straight out of circa 1940-something, back when the rear ends were still rigid but the earliest hydraulic forks were hitting the road. The proven Thunder Stroke 111 provides the power with over 100 pound-feet of torque on tap, but the Chief Vintage remains a rather essential ride with naught but ABS and cruise control for ride-quality electronics. Old-school touring goodies come stock to include a large windscreen and voluminous saddlebags, so you can count on some long-range capacity right off the showroom floor.

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2020 Indian Chief Dark Horse

2020 Indian Chief Dark Horse

The Chief Dark Horsre Now Shares The Chassis With Springfield And Springfield Dark Horse

Indian Motorcycle spruced up its Chief Dark Horse ahead of MY2020 with an agile frame that delivers lighter handling than before to give this boulevard bruiser a sporty new element. Historical references abound throughout the design, as do old-school custom touches, but power comes from a modern V-twin to the tune of over 100 pound-feet of torque for upscale performance.

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2020 Zero DSR Black Forest

2020 Zero DSR Black Forest

Zero Brings A Proper Adventure Bike To The U.S.

Zero Motorcycles has been at the cutting edge of EV bike development ever since it hit the scene in 2006, and the marque expands its footprint into adventure-bike territory with its new DSR “Black Forest” model. The Black Forest builds on the Zero DS “Dual Sport” adding long-distance comfort items and ample dry storage to lend it a level of utility that could only be had from the accessory catalog before now. Long-distance power capacity and the usual snappy torque delivery round out the package to make this EV at home almost anywhere.

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2019 - 2020 Kawasaki W800 Café

2019 - 2020 Kawasaki W800 Café

It’s One Of The More Authentic Tribute Bikes Out There

Classic looks and modern performance come together with a 773 cc parallel-twin to push this homegrown-looking bike, the new Kawasaki W800 Café. Unveiled at 2018 EICMA, the factory pulled out all the stops to give it a custom appeal.

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2018 - 2020 Yamaha Star Venture

2018 - 2020 Yamaha Star Venture

Yamaha’s Hot Transcontinental Tourer Is Back For 2020

Yamaha took a little hiatus from the full-dresser market to the tune of almost a half-decade, but the Tuning Fork Company broke its fast in 2018 with the release of the all-new Star Venture. This ride clearly comes geared to take on Harley-Davidson’s touring line in general, and the Road Glide Ultra specifically. Ambitious? You betcha, but Yamaha did its homework and put together a machine that brings a torquey, big-inch, V-twin to the U.S. market in a rather tour-tastic package with over 35 gallons of dry storage across the two hard bags and trunk box on the base model with additional storage available as part of the “Transcontinental Option Package.” The very name speaks volumes.

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2019 - 2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide

2019 - 2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide

Blue Chip At Its Best

Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations division was at it again with a revised CVO Street Glide model in 2019. The newest “SG” sports a new Boom! Box infotainment system with some serious speaker packages. Power comes from the Milwaukee-Eight 117 and brings its “guns” to the table with oodles of torque and a new color band as a model-year identifier.

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