2021 BMW R nineT
BMW rolls into MY2021 with a handful of improvements to its base-model R nineT. The updated engine meets EU-5 emissions standards and the electronics suite delivers more safety- and ride-quality features right off the showroom floor. New suspension components boost comfort as well to finish out the improvements for the 2021 R nineT model.
2022 Indian Chief Bobber
Indian Motorcycle is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its iconic Chief family line, and part of that party belongs to the new Chief Bobber that’ll bring to mind the gassers of yesteryear. Old school lines join with early performance tinkering to give the Bobber a charm all its own even while it makes connections to models from Indian’s own rich history. The Thunder Stroke engine ties it all together with its faux-flathead construction that turns in a thoroughly modern performance that will serve you well in the urban jungle of your choice.
2021 BMW G 310 GS
BMW gave its all-surface G 310 GS a soft body redesign ahead of MY2021 along with a handful of drivetrain upgrades to boot. The factory offers the G 310 GS in a pair of standard paint packages, but adds a two-tone 40th anniversary paint package with historical roots all its own. Comfort and safety also saw a buff with a number of new-for-2021 features on Beemer’s littlest GS.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
With the Softail Deluxe, Harley-Davidson brings a strong dose of nostalgia and antique design and with it comes H-D’s Big-Twin powerplant — the Milwaukee-Eight 107 — and its 109 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque that turned in a stronger top-gear roll-on than any previous engine family before it with the same 45-degree V-Twin. The charm and engine lope that even the oldest fans of the brand would recognize wasn’t lost, and ABS, security and oodles of laid-back, classic vibes are included in the standard equipment package, so this is truly a melding of two technologically-distinct eras.
2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114
Harley-Davidson ditched the Milwaukee-Eight 107 and repowered its Street Bob platform ahead of MY2021 with the powerful Mil-8 114 to give it a performance boost over its predecessor. This makes it the least expensive stoplight burner in the 2021 lineup, as well as the lightest Big-Twin to carry the up-sized Milwaukee engine. The homejob-custom look is a carryover from last year but the graphics package is unique to this year-model setting it apart from its peers.
2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
Harley-Davidson pared down its Softail lineup ahead of MY2021, but its venerable Fat Boy makes the cut to continue into the current lineup. It rolls with the relatively new, 114 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight engine in a similarly newish Softail frame, but the overall look still displays the classic genetic markers of the Fat Boy family. Better handling and improved performance join with stock ABS protection to complete the 2021 package.
2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
Harley-Davidson’s 2021 CVO Road Glide is a bona fide showroom showstopper with lots of chrome and a trio of new paint packages. Powered by a top-shelf Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine – the largest production engine from the MoCo to date – this machine rolls with stock ride safety-control features that keep all that power under control. Stock bags and fairings complete the bagger ensemble to make this a viable bike for performance-minded riders looking to tour, cruise, or just boulevard bruise.
2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide
Harley-Davidson introduced the Sport Glide in 2018, an all-new Softail model that borrowed from the past while looking to the future. The detachable panniers and mini-fairing give it some (very) light touring capabilities, but it’s the 108 pounds of grunt from the Milwaukee-Eight engine that reveals its true nature as a power cruiser.
2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
Harley-Davidson and the custom-bike culture have always gone hand-in-hand, and the updated-in-2018 Softail Slim makes for a rolling tribute to both. The Slim rides on the same, newly-revamped frame as the rest of the fake-hardtail family for the unmistakable geometry and dated look that you just can’t get from a traditional swingarm. Bobbed fenders and blackout paint tie right into the custom trends of yesteryear quite nicely, but it’s the 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin and its 100-plus pounds of torque that drives the Slim past “historical-tribute” turf right into viable power-cruiser territory. Since the whole point of the original bobbers was to provide a more thrilling ride, I find this pairing of power and panache to be entirely fitting.
2021 BMW S 1000 R
BMW rolls into MY2021 with a revised version of its street-legal sportbike, the S 1000 R. It borrows heavily from its race-tastic stablemate, the S 1000 RR. The new model hits the street both leaner and meaner this year to deliver an absolutely essential roadster platform, even though the electronics suite is rather robust within the standard features. Optional electronics and gear can turn this bike into a bona fide race machine.
2020 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
Harley-Davidson’s cruiser line isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind for a performance-oriented street machine, but that changes with its recently refurbished Softail Low Rider S model. The steering geometry is sharpened for the sake of agility, and as for power, the torque-rich, Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine delivers the goods with well over 100 pounds o’ grunt ready to be unleashed on the public roads.
2020 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
Harley-Davidson makes some progress on its “100 new bikes” promise with the mid-2020 release of the new Softail Standard that it carries into 2021. 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 looking for a suitable platform.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Breakout
Once again, Harley-Davidson takes what’s old and makes it new again with its revamped-in-2018 Softail lineup. The drag-tastic “Breakout” is one of the models that made the jump and carried into 2020. Harley offered this bobber-burner with the 109 pound-foot, Milwaukee-Eight 107 and the Mil-8 114 that boasts a total of 119 pounds o’ twist last year, but sticks to the 114 for 2020. The ground-up Softail-family rebuild contains myriad changes from the remarkable to the mundane that go way beyond a handful of re-arranged trim packages. This is a re-invention of the whole range with capabilities meant to offset the loss of the Dyna family, and technology more in line with the current industry standards. We’re talking a renewed focus on the Softails as H-D’s sole (or should it be soul?) cruisers.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
Heavily bobbed and blacked-out, the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob came with a choice of engine — the 107-inch Milwaukee-Eight or the 114-inch version – up until 2020 when only the 114 was carried forward. These grunty powerplants, along with a (relatively) sporty new suspension system from the redesign in 2018 give the Fat Bob an aggressive bent meant to appeal to a younger generation of rider. The Fat Bob saw a complete do-over in 2018, so if you rode it before and weren’t impressed, know that you haven’t ridden this Fat Bob.
2019 - 2020 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
Harley-Davidson advanced its 100-new-bike agenda in 2019 with the new FXDR 114 that turned the nearly-new Softail into a drag race-inspired stoplight burner. The factory went outside the envelope for design inspiration, with some interesting results that head in an unexpected direction, to say the least. A 114 cubic-inch engine delivers the goods to made the FXDR the most powerful production Softail up for grabs, so you can be assured that it’s by no means an all-show/no-go machine. Plus, an effort to shed some weight to improve handling- and ride-quality, and that translates into even better acceleration to make this a rather sporty, non-Sportster ride.
2021 BMW G 310 R
BMW rolls into 2021 with what it calls a soft re-imagination of its plucky little roadster, the G 310 R. Not only did BMW tuneup the looks, but the new G 310 R sports a number of tech upgrades and safety equipment to boot. The engine is a carryover from last year, even though it, too, hits the showroom floor with buffed engine-control electronics and mechanical features. New paint packages finish out the details that make their model debut in MY2021.
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
BMW spruced up its Grand America ahead of 2021 with a host of improvements, most of which were offered as optional equipment on the previous year-model. A powerful flat-six engine drives this long-distance tourbike, and the attention to detail is evident throughout the comfort amenities to make this a serious contender for the U.S. full-dresser market. Hard bags and a topcase, that provides a backrest for the pillion, join a vented windshield and broad front fairing to protect both rider and passenger.
2021 Moto Guzzi V7: First Look
Moto Guzzi rolls into 2021 with a next-generation V7 family in the classy “Stone” and the classic “Special” models. The ground-up rebuild maintains the established panache — even as it touches on nearly every aspect of the build — to present a familiar visage to the world. To mark this newest version, the factory dropped the Roman numerals from the platform for a cleaner moniker and billed it simply as the V7.
2016 - 2020 BMW R nineT Scrambler
The new-from-2016, R nineT Scrambler from the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW Motorrad) rolls into 2020 still based on a general design popular from the ’50s all the way through the ’70s. The Scrambler embodies the form of the original scramblers, while borrowing from the 1951 Beemer R 68. The result is a ride that invokes nostalgia in those old enough to remember the originals and subsequent variants, but also appeals to a younger crowd who appreciates classic looks coupled with updated performance and more reliable technology than its antique predecessors.
2017 - 2020 BMW R nineT
Heritage sells, and BMW looks to take it to the bank with its R nineT model family that brings classic looks and a timeless engine configuration together. Outward appearances may draw on dated (read: classic) design elements, but performance from the boxer-twin powerplant puts the R nineT in a decidedly modern category that has launched an entire line of sub-models.
2019 - 2020 BMW R 1250 RT
BMW Motorrad hit MY2019 with the R 1250 RT as its spanky new super-tour bike. Why “super?” Well, it carries a newly refined boxer-twin that brings more mechanical prowess to the table, to include variable cam timing and staggered intake timing meant to broaden the powerband; and a combined engine/transmission case that eliminates some unnecessary weight from the assembly. As you’d expect, the electronics suite is pulled from the top shelf for the stock package, and unsurprisingly, the factory has optional packages available that introduce even more fandanglery to the situation and make the “RT” a proper technological marvel. It all comes together on an undeniably progressive machine with clear Euro-sport roots.
2018 - 2021 BMW K 1600 B
The bagger genre is a uniquely American phenomenon, and as such, it can be difficult to compete against the established domestic brands, but BMW does exactly that with its K 1600 B. At a glance, the “B” hits all the pertinent design high points, and under the hood, the thing is chock full of comfort and safety features to make it capable of pulling double duty as a tour bike. If you’re into inches (no giggity), Beemer accommodates you with over a liter-and-a-half in its six-banger mill to make it capable of standing up to Honda’s Gold Wing.
2017 - 2020 BMW K 1600 GT
BMW’s K 1600 GT moved into its seventh year of production in 2017 with a fresh rebuild that the Bayerische carries right on into MY2020. A six-cylinder engine puts it in the power-tourer category in both the torque and horsepower columns for solid performance even in spite of its not-inconsiderable heft. Built for touring, it strikes a balance between storage and aesthetics for a sort of “Euro-bagger” look that compares well with Honda’s new bagger-tastic Goldwing since both leave off the top case for their fully dressed, top-shelf models. This Bavarian bruiser brings a dark-and-swanky attitude to the table with the performance to back it up.
2017 - 2020 BMW S 1000 R
The BMW S 1000 R was on the receiving end of a facelift ahead of the 2017 model year, and it carries that enhanced package right on into MY2020. BMW’s liter-sized naked roadster rolls with a new frame, increased engine output and Euro 4 emissions compliance. That comes on top of the already impressive electronics package that includes Beemer’s Automatic Stability Control, Ride Modes and a Race ABS feature.
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4
Ducati rolls into 2021 on its fourth generation Multistrada that reaffirms Duc’s position as a world leader in motorcycle development and production. Aptly named “many roads” in translation, the newly updated Multistrada V4 stable covers not only a range of riding surfaces, but a span of rider types as well, something that will hold it in good stead on the global stage. This family also has the distinction of being the first motorcycle equipped with front and rear radar that enables an automatic station-keeping system in traffic, much like many of the higher-quality automobiles that are currently on the market. The line includes a trio of sub-models, the Multistrada V4, V4 S, and V4 S Sport.
2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Kawasaki entered the 2017 model year with an eye toward the small-displacement adventure-bike market, and the all-new Versys-X 300 was its weapon of choice for this new front. The “X” joined the rest of the Versys adventure-bike lineup with the characteristic family flylines atop unique features all its own. Most apparent was the 296 cc engine attractive to riders looking to enter the adventure world as well as the young adults emerging as the new generation of pragmatic buyers.
2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
It’s out with the old and in with the new for Yamaha’s Tracer model that saw a ground-up rebuild ahead of MY2021. That’s right, Yamaha went for the trifecta with an all-new engine and upgraded electronics, all in a spankin’-new frame. This newest Tracer replaces the previous version, the Tracer 900 GT, and represents a natural evolution of Yamaha’s sport-touring design philosophy.
2017 - 2021 BMW K 1600 GTL
BMW Motorrad embraces the American style for its full-dress tourbikes , and the K 1600 GTL represents the pinnacle of that genre. Built for luxe comfort with an eye toward safety, the “GTL” brings all the top-shelf gadgets to the table along with over a liter-and-a-half of flat-six performance placing it well into the power-tourer bracket. The factory also blessed it with the “Spezial” treatment that brings factory-custom touches to lend the line an extra element of exclusivity.
2021 Yamaha MT-09 / MT-09 SP
Yamaha recently rebranded its holdout U.S. FZ family with the MT moniker to match the markets around the world, and MY21 brings with it a ground-up rebuild for the existing MT-09. The factory doubles the “09” lineup with the addition of the top-drawer MT-09 SP to the mix. A new engine rides in a new frame with new suspension components as well as new ride-quality electronics to make this a genuinely new version of Yamaha’s second largest “Master of Torque” model.
2021 Yamaha MT-07
Yamaha beefs up its MT-07 ahead of 2021 with a handful of improvements and updates on the menu. This marks the first major update for the Master of Torque since it was renamed from the FZ tag it carried for so long in the U.S. market. Engine tuning, design updates, safety equipment adjustments, and ergonomic tweaks all made it onto this newest iteration of the hyper-naked MT-07.
2021 Ducati Monster
Ducati rolls into 2021 with a pair of new additions to its famous Monster family. Built to be light, easy to control, and above all fun, the chassis is compact and sporty with ample Monster DNA on display; but its the twin-cylinder Testastretta that really steals the show. In spite of its low overall weight, this is decidedly not a machine for the uninitiated.
2018 - 2021 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
Yamaha’s R1 family brings genuine racebike fun to the unwashed masses for a price that belies their capabilities. The base-model YZF-R1 and its even more race-tastic “M” variant come with MotoGP-level performance, and indeed are actually set up to be quickly converted for track use, so these are no poser bikes, not by a long shot. A powerful liter-sized mill pushes the R1 family well into the stupidfast category with updated electronic subsystems to help you keep it all under control, and of course, the synergy between the components makes the R1 family much greater than the sum of its parts.
2021 Honda Rebel 1100
Honda swings for the fences with its new-for-2021 Rebel 1100 taking its place at the head of the Rebel family. A prime candidate for both the entry-level riders and ones looking for their first upgrade, the biggest Rebel’s engine comes out of the globetrotting Africa Twin. Ride-control and safety electronics come off the top shelf and it comes in a choice between a standard transmission and Honda’s DCT gearbox that delivers automatic-transmission functionality. This new ride rolls for less than $10k to cement its status as a contender in the U.S. cruiser market.
2020 - 2021 Yamaha MT-03
Yamaha expands its MT lineup with an all-new-in-2020, entry-level model, the 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.
2018 - 2020 Yamaha MT-09
A lot of words come to mind when someone mentions the Yamaha MT-09: powerful, sporty, agile, and aggressive are a few of them. Packed with the 847 cc CP3® engine, the MT-09 combines aggressive styling and impressive performance with a host of electronics – including traction control, ABS, and improved throttle curves – to make it a contender in the naked sportbike arena.
2018 - 2021 Yamaha MT-10
Yamaha’s Hyper-Naked literbike features a 998 cc plant that delivers 160 ponies for a brutally powerful ride. The factory tweaked its D-Mode engine mapping feature to help you manage said power and (hopefully) keep the power delivery synched with pilot skill level. Also new from 2018 is the Quick Shift System that lets you run through the gears even faster to get the most out of whichever mode you prefer. TC, RbW, and ABS all make an appearance in the electronics suite, and the suspension comes with an array of adjustments to make this an all-around, top-shelf bike.
2016 - 2020 Yamaha VMAX
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
Ducati’s Scrambler division unleashes its new-for-2021 “Nightshift” model on the world in all of its blackout glory in a sinister turn for the usually youthfully-jubilant Scrambler lineup. It carries the mid-range, 803 cc L-Twin engine wrapped in a homejob-custom package with unique components that complete the look. The ABS feature is of the corner-sensitive variety to give the Nightshift an edge on the streets.
2018 - 2020 Yamaha MT-07
Yamaha finally dropped its FZ family designator in 2017 in favor of the MT brand seen by most other markets and the changes aren’t limited the moniker. The MT-07 came with a handful of tweaks to include better suspension and updated looks to reflect its aggressive nature. Fans of the “Fuzz” will rejoice to know that it retains its 689 cc, crossplane concept powerplant with its 50 pounds o’ grunt and steering geometry that makes the family so nimble.
2021 Ducati XDiavel Dark
Ducati explores its Dark Side with the new-for-2021 XDiavel power cruiser. Built with the same relaxed cruiser attitude as its kin, generous blackout treatment adds a decidedly sinister tone that pairs well with the industrial look that the Diavel/XDiavel platforms bring to the table. In addition to the whopping 160 horsepower output of the powerful engine, its emissions have been improved, as well, to meet Euro 5 emissions requirements.
2017 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-S1000F
Suzuki rolls its GSX-S1000F into MY2020 with a new Glass Sparkle Black colorway that is sure to turn heads, day or night. A GSX-R-based engine design delivers the goods with advanced rider-aid technology along with adjustable suspension and ABS protection to finish the package. This model makes an “all-new” return in 2020 after a hiatus last year.
2019 - 2021 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE+
Kawasaki beefed up its Ninja lineup ahead of MY2019 with the upgraded H2 SX SE+. Competition is fierce at the top of the liter-bike range, but Kawi has a not-so-secret weapon in its fight for street dominance in the form of a supercharger (compressor) that significantly boosts performance. The electronic suite received a buff as well with electronic suspension control bundled with new riding modes and the ability to network with your smartphone. Plus, it rocks a “self-repairing” finish that resists dings and scratches to help it keep its curb value.
2019 - 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
Kawasaki’s Ninja lineup made a well-deserved impression on the sportbike sector, and the factory elevates its game with the ZX-6R. This mid-size Ninja “636” added last year carried a host of improvements that range from vanity-to-vroom with spruced-up looks, LED lighting, and new instrumentation, just to name a few. The electronics were upgraded as well, and the new features stack with the incumbent power modes, traction control, and Kawasaki’s own Intelligent Brake System.
Zero and Polaris Join Forces for New Off-Road Electric Bikes
That’s right sports fans. This may be the most significant relationship thus far in the race to make electric propulsion a viable alternative to the current internal-combustion engines, specifically within the off-road and non-road sectors. Polaris Inc. and Zero Motorcycles launch a decade-long partnership as a major pillar of the “rEV’d up” campaign, and the first efforts are to produce battery-powered off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.
2021 Indian Vintage
Indian Motorcycle, under the Polaris umbrella, has been on an unprecedented technological upswing for the brand since its relatively recent resurrection, but the Indian Vintage rocks an antique veneer that serves as a reminder of its deep roots. Old-school styling, tan leather, and ample chrome channels yesteryear with a custom bent to finish the package. If you’re into classically designed machines with a genuine pedigree, the 2021 Indian Vintage should definitely be on your short list.
2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited
Indian Motorcycle adds the Roadmaster Limited to the lineup ahead of MY2021 as an alternative to the vanilla Roadmaster at the bottom of the fully dressed tour-bike price range. The standard electronic suite and Ride Command infotainment system supports long trips as is, but new equipment really adds comfort through the ClimaCommand Rogue saddle that can heat or cool your nethers underway. Front fairing protection and a trio of hard bags round out the touring package to make it ready for the highway right off the showroom floor.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-R750
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.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-R600
2021 Indian Vintage Dark Horse
Indian Motorcycle brings its own vast experience with old-school, American-style cruisers to bear with the custom blackout 2021 Vintage Dark Horse. Set up for cruising or even some light touring, the Vintage Dark Horse comes with stock storage and a fairly robust electronic rider-aid package for the Thunder Stroke 111 engine. A wide range of options include the new ClimaCommand saddle that delivers extra comfort for riding under extreme conditions.
2019 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-S750 / GSX-S750Z
Suzuki shuffled its “standard” selections ahead of MY2019 with a new powerplant based on the proven Gixxer mill. The 2020 GSX-S750 comes sans ABS, but the lineup includes an ABS model in the custom-flavored, “Z” blackout package that the factory hopes will cover all the bases in the mid-size naked-sport sector. Additionally, it rocks a robust electronics suite with engine-control features as well as safety-related goodies. Power and agility (read: fun) come together with Spartan looks and a modicum of comfort on these bikes.
2017 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
Coming off a fresh update in 2017, Suzuki carries its GSX-R1000R into MY2020 with little else in the way of changes. The next-gen “Gixxer” 1000 brought an all-new 999.8 cc powerplant to the table with a claimed 199 horsepower at the shaft and a whole passel of electronic goodies to help manage all those ponies. Traction control, lean-sensitive ABS, launch control and more, Suzuki’s flagship literbike comes equipped with overlapping safety nets to help keep us mortal, non-professional riders dirty-side down as we explore our electronically augmented performance envelope. MotoGP tech influences the design to give the rider a little taste of track-day performance, or at the very least, ’performance light.’
2018 - 2020 Suzuki GSX250R
All-new in 2018, the GSX250R from [Suzuki-mot291] is set to enter the race to the bottom. Not the bottom of the stack, but the bottom of the displacement range with its 248 cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine. Suzuki jumps on the go-small-or-go-home bandwagon with a sportbike carrying all the genetic markers of the Katana family, and exactly what you would expect from one of the Big Four.
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.