Ducati Diavel 1260 S - Media reveal
2016 - 2019 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
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” trim package that carries the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” is meant to signify 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.
2018 - 2019 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS
Triumph refurbished its Speed Triple family ahead of MY2018, and the British giant carries its new-for-’18 Speed Triple S and Speed Triple RS straight over into the 2019 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, so today I want to see how well they hold up to closer scrutiny and pit one of ’em against a likely competitor from Japan, or maybe Italy. Let’s get to it.
2017 - 2018 BMW R nineT Racer
BMW expanded its Heritage lineup for MY2017 with the R nineT “Racer” variant that it carries over right on into 2019. The Racer takes Beemer’s popular roadster and gives it a café-tastic bent that, in spite of the fact that it adds more body components, seems to accentuate the essential nature of the model. Power comes from a classic boxer engine, and of course, the factory threw on a handful of extra safety items to help you keep it all under control.
2018 - 2019 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 the “B” 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 — probably. So let’s dig into this Boulevard Bruiser and see how it actually compares to the hard data from Honda’s GW bagger.
2018 - 2019 BMW R nineT Urban GS
BMW expanded its R nineT lineup ahead of the 2017 model year with the Urban G/S that brings old school adventure bike looks to the table along with the same modern performance as the rest of the line. Power comes from an 1,170 cc flat-twin engine that adds character and historical panache at the same time to make the “GS” something of a rolling tribute piece. Although the “GS” sports some special gear that sets it apart from the rest of the range, it’s still just a platform that can be shifted between the stock road-running setup and a more off-road friendly build for what is, essentially, two bikes in one. Rider safety is also available in varying levels, so I would argue that this ride is probably appropriate for riders that land near the bottom of the experience scale along with riders who are looking to cross between the black and the brown.
2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa
Triumph’s new Tiger 1200 XCa resides comfortably at the top of food chain with all the fandanglery the British marque has to offer and it comes billed as its ultimate adventure bike. That sets a fairly high bar, but at a glance, it seems like the factory is on-point with oodles of goodies to include an off-road specific addition to the riding modes, a clutchless shifter and a keyless ignition to name a few. Today I’m going to dive into this globetrotting machine to see what else Trumpet stuffed in there, so join me while I check out this state-of-the-art adventure bike.
2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+
Kawasaki raised the bar for its Versys adventure-bike range with the new-for-2019 1000 SE LT+. The Special Edition rocks a host of new comfort- and safety-related features to put it on Kawi’s top shelf and make it the flagship of the Versys family. If that sounds like high praise, just read on and I assure you, I’ll prove it. It may be set up as an uber adventure-tourer, but the factory added a full electronics suite to include items usually reserved for proper race-style bikes, so this thing really is a Cadillac on two wheels. I’ve looked forward to delving into this machine, so without further ado, let’s check it out, then see if I can find a suitable competitor. I’m thinking a Brit or an Italian at this point; let’s see how it shakes out.
2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S
Italian powerhouse Ducati hits 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 even run the same exact 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, so today I want to delve into this pair and see how it stacks up against some of the likely competition from Japan or maybe elsewhere in Europe.
2019 Triumph Speed Twin
Triumph expanded its “Modern Classics” lineup ahead of MY2019 with the new-for-’19 Speed Twin as a tribute piece that pays visual homage with all the modern yummy-goodness you’d expect tucked away under the hood and out of sight. The result; 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.
2019 Triumph Bonneville T120 ACE
Triumph enjoys some of the deepest roots around, and it takes advantage of them with the new Bonneville T120 ACE. The “Ace” comes loaded with retro styling and old-school custom flavor for a double-whammy of dated British style. Under the hood, the Ace is a thoroughly modern ride with a robust electronics suite and powerful engine to go with contemporary comforts and convenience.
2016 - 2019 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 the Sportster stable is used to having. 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 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
After a revamp for the 2018 model year, Softail underpinnings are all radically different than the originals, but the overall classic look of the Heritage Classic remains largely unchanged for the requisite historical tie-in. Harley put a new emphasis on the Softail lineup with plenty of performance-driven custom designs for the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, but for someone looking for an old-school cruiser and tour bike, the Heritage Classic is your Huckleberry.
2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 line is well established with the Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero and Vulcan 1700 Voyager.