Janus Motorcycles Features Quintessential Vintage Styling in a Trio of 220 cc Bikes
Janus Motorcycles offers three models in their 250-series line that all come with healthy doses of what is certainly quintessential “vintage” styling. You hear it all the time; “they just don’t build them like they used to.” Usually, that’s a good thing since we’re safer and more comfortable on the road than ever before, but I’d argue that motoring has all but lost one very important quality: charm. That’s right, I said it, and I can back it up.
2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke
The value of indoctrination is not lost on KTM, evidenced by the fact that they’ve updated and generally spruced up their entry-level unit, the 390 Duke in 2017, and those improvements carry straight over into the 2019 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 tech 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, or so KTM hopes. Let’s dive in and see what else the Austrian bike maker has in store for us.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki KLX250
Kawasaki pulled the KLX250 out of the mothballs, updated it and released back into the domestic market in 2018. That came on the heels of a three-year break, over which the KLX250 became kind of like the Loch Ness Monster, much discussed but rarely seen. Among the improvements are updated looks, revised suspension components and electronic fuel-injection that replaces the old Keihin carb from the previous generation. So, better looks, better ride and better performance in a market that hasn’t been glutted with KLX250 models for a few years.
2017 - 2019 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.
2019 Kawasaki Z400
Kawasaki needed to plug a hole in its super-naked lineup between the Z300 and the Z650, so it cooked up the new Z400 ABS to do the job. Aggressive Kawi styling dominates the look, but not necessarily the attitude, to make the Z400 an excellent commuter/first upgrade from whatever you cut your teeth on. The ergonomics are friendly to shorter inseams and conducive to relaxed riding, so this is a bike that should cover a range of body types. Is it right for you? Let’s find out.
2018 - 2019 Yamaha XMAX
Yamaha brought the XMAX to the U.S. market last year after testing it in Europe for a bit. It’s a shame that it took this long ’cause the 300 cc class makes a lot of sense on our side of the Pacific Rim/Pond. A 27.6-horsepower mill 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 to me, and not necessarily for the younger set, either.
2018 - 2019 Suzuki Burgman 400
2009 - 2019 Suzuki TU250X
2016 - 2019 Yamaha SMAX
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 2019.
2019 Genuine Motorcycles G400C
Domestic importer Genuine Scooters steps away from its self-proclaimed territory with a jaunt into proper motorcycle country. The “new” G400C is the flagship for this venture under the Genuine Motorcycles banner with some deep design roots that span decades and brands to bring a genuine classic to the table, if you’ll forgive the pun.
2019 BMW C 400 GT
BMW Motorrad expands its C 400 range with a Gran Turismo version designed to bring some long-distance capabilities to the table. This mid-size scooter features comfort amenities alongside safety features that deliver peace of mind, and let’s face it, peace of mind has a comfort factor all its own. Cutting-edge electronics and multimedia connectivity come standard, and I gotta’ say the electronics suite is vastly superior to a good number of “proper” motorcycles on the market today. Think I’m overstating it? Hold that thought for just a few minutes and I’ll make a believer of you.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 400 GT.
2015 - 2019 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2019 V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha V Star 250.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400
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 Millennial buyer base.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
2019 Yamaha YZF-R125
Yamaha takes early indoctrination to a whole new level with its YZF-R125 meant to scoop up riders who live in areas that use the tiered-license system. That’s right, it’s an R-series model specifically built for A-1 license holders in Europe and the U.K. The trackside DNA is evident in the overall look that borrows heavily from its larger-displacement siblings in keeping with it intended use as an entry-level trainer. Supersport looks and handling meet license restrictions to make this a proper first-timer’s bike, so today, I’d like to take a look at the details and see what it will likely face in the contest to rope in riders and instill brand loyalty at the earliest possible.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R125.
2019 Yamaha YZF-R3
Done properly, brand indoctrination starts early, and the newly updated [YZF-R3 is Yamaha’s primary bid for the supersport larvae it needs to support the rest of the range. The”R3” presents a race-tastic face to the world with design elements borrowed from its big brothers, the YZF-R6 and R1. It sports lower-drag bodywork and the same powerplant as the ’18 model for a net performance gain, however slim, and maintains its agile nature/fun factor for experienced pilots. Yamaha set the bar for the YZF family pretty high already, so let’s dive right in and see what else the Tuning Fork Company has in store for us on its next-to-littlest supersport.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.
2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
“Cheap thrills” takes on a whole new meaning — or maybe just a revitalization of the old meaning — when it comes to the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki. It’s small and relatively fast for the thrills, good fuel economy, and a bargain-basement price. Sure, as a fun bike, it has that hands down. It’s also a commuter if you have to navigate congested traffic because it’s small, lightweight and narrow so filtering through traffic is a breeze. As a first bike for someone new to two wheels, this is a completely approachable bike, not intimidating at all and without the electronics that frequently get used as a crutch. On this bike, you learn how to ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z125 PRO.