2019 Honda CB500F
Honda gives its CB500F the ’BNL-plus’ treatment ahead of MY2019 with a number of aesthetic improvements and a four-percent boost in power over the previous gen. Naked as ever, the “F” brings its usual sense of style and practicality to the table to serve as a lower-midrange “all-rounder,” as the factory succinctly puts it. Today I’d like to take a deeper look at this model and see how it stacks up against an equally-raw domestic competitor.
Top 10 Classics/Standards of 2018
Timeless designs that take you back to the pre-’60s era, heightened feeling of riding free-spirited machines and the sense of freedom. This is what a modern-day classic motorcycle offers without that knuckle bending fixes and ghastly scenes of oil dripping everywhere. Here are our top ten standard/classic motorcycles of 2018 that take us back to the time from the ’60s.
Recalling the past glories, these neo-classic motorcycles have still managed to retain the charm and posterity of minimalistic elegance along with providing modern day mechanicals and the bits. They run on efficient high output engines that are both reliable and powerful and are equipped with state of the art suspension and brake setups that will bring the bike to a halt not far from their point of application unlike the yesteryears.
Top 10 Street Motorcycles of 2018
Although not an official segment of motorcycles, our lifestyle for daily transportation in urban communities have given rise to street motorcycles that are lightweight and nimble for the concrete jungle. Being an agile handler while looking the part is how we need our commute through the asphalt.
This is our list of the machines we think can handle those demands better than any other. A motorcycle with an upright riding position, lacking plastic fairings for that narrow lane splitting ability and a lightweight construction for the ease of flickability is what we are looking for, and here are our top ten:
2019 Can-Am Ryker
Can-Am announced the newest addition to its funny-backwards-trike lineup with the all-new Ryker model that BRP hopes will open up a whole new market for prospective entry-level trike riders. (Trikers?) The Ryker comes with all the electronic fandanglery that you’ll find on its large-displacement siblings, but comes with a choice in powerplants between a mid-size mill and one that falls closer to a liter. An automatic transmission delivers twist-and-go operation for the ultimate in rider friendliness, even for folks who are complete strangers to having their fists in the wind. Could this be BRP’s new big shoo-in? Only time will tell, but meanwhile, we can certainly dissect this most-interesting machine, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Ryker.
2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
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.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Rebel 300 and Rebel 500.
2014 - 2019 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.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
Royal Enfield sold 250 limited edition "Pegasus" in 178 seconds
During the World War II, Royal Enfield (“The Enfield Cycle Company Limited” then) was called upon by the British authorities to develop and manufacture military motorcycles. That was the birth of the Royal Enfield WD/RE series of motorcycles, also known as the "Flying Flea".
Conceived as a tribute this “Flying Flea” and Royal Enfield’s military heritage, Royal Enfield today launched a special limited run version of the Classic 500 called the “Pegasus” edition. With only 1000 units to be sold worldwide, the online bookings were opened for 250 of them last week in India and each one of them got sold out in under 3 minutes.
2016 - 2018 Benelli Leoncino Trail
Ever since Benelli started showcasing us products designed by CentroStile Benelli, their reputation seems to have gotten back to its original charm albeit owned by a Chinese firm. The same design house has once again wowed us by showcasing the Leoncino (pronounced Leon-cheeno), meaning the Lion Cub street and the Leoncino Trail, the scrambler-esque edition.
These motorcycles were first showcased at the 2015 EICMA as a concept, and the very next year, the production model came out for the European and a few Asian markets, and it had maintained the rugged and beautiful lines. We are here for the "all-terrain" version of the two-cylinder Casa di Pesaro.
2017 - 2018 CCM Spitfire
Reminiscence of the Supermarine Spitfire, a British fighter aircraft from the times of World War II, the CCM Spitfire is the brainchild of a specialist division within the shackles of CCM called ‘the SkunkwerX team’. Launched first in 2017, all 150 of them were sold in the first week itself.
The bike gets a custom hand built chassis setup and a bespoke tank that defined all the models that came later from CCM’s “SkunkwerX” division including the Scrambler, Café Racer, Bobber and the Flat Tracker. They all use the same 600cc single pot mill borrowed from Husqvarna.
2016 - 2018 Benelli Leoncino Lion Cub
Ever since Benelli started showcasing us products designed by CentroStile Benelli, slowly their reputation seems to have gotten back to its original charm albeit owned by a Chinese firm. The same design house has once again wowed us by showcasing the Leoncino (pronounced Leon-cheeno), meaning the Lion Cub.
This street motorcycle was first showcased at the 2015 EICMA as a concept and people had then put a lot of money on these bikes because of the potential shown. Then the very next year, the production model came out for the European and a few Asian markets, and it had maintained the rugged and beautiful lines.
2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
Piaggio’s MP3 scooters were a game-changer when they hit the markets back in 2003, and Italy’s premier scooter maker has hit a new pinnacle of refinement with its MP3 Business HPE ABS ASR. That alphabet soup of features adds to the yummy-goodness already under the hood to make this new variant particularly suitable for the office/student commuter, even if they’ve no previous riding experience. New details abound. Of course, the obvious selling point is the two-up-front trike arrangement that grants the MP3 the stability of a trike with the fluidity and sensation of flight normally reserved for two-wheeled machines. Power, performance and safety; what’s not to love?
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio MP 500 HPE Business.
2018 KYMCO AK550
KYMCO takes the next step in its quest for a slice of the maxi-scooter market with the new AK550. This newest addition takes the company into some hotly contested territory with its business-class looks and motorcycle-like engine displacement that is sure to reach a more demanding customer base. Comfort and weather protection were front-burner topics for the designers, as were safety considerations, evidenced by the riding modes feature and ABS. What else does KYMCO’s top-shelf commuter/tourer have in store? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my look at the KYMCO AK550.
2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan
As people are maturing, so is the adventure-bike segment. Call it a trend or being sensible, manufacturers are contesting even in lower-displacement machines. This renewed interest is bringing all the positives to the manufacturer into cultivating young riders to brand loyalty.
After dominating back home in India, the post-British brand has been relentlessly expanding for half a decade and have increased exports to 93% this year compared to last year. And for 2018, they have no plans for slowing down. Their dual-sport enduro is making its way to our shores.
Called the "Himalayan", an adage to the mighty mountain range, it brings a lot of new things to the table – an all-new engine, all-new chassis, all-new design language, and most importantly, all new functionality of performing on both on and off-road terrains with equal ease.
2018 CCM Spitfire Bobber
When Clews Competition Machines unveiled their Spitfire model last February, it made headlines all over the internet and received an insane amount of response from the riding folks. So much so that all the limited 150 models were sold within a span of one week. “It was a combination of the promise of pure riding pleasure and a timeless design that set hearts a fluttering at the show.”
CCM’s “SkunkweX” division has now unveiled a new Bobber variant of their new Spitfire range at the 2018 MCN London Motorcycle Show. The bike will use the same 600cc single pot mill that does the job on all the Spitfire models including the Scrambler, Café Racer, and the Flat Tracker. But comes with white-walled tires, spoked wheels and a butch floating leather seat to represent the Americas in the 30s’.
Royal Enfield unveiled colourful new Thunderbird X
Royal Enfield is having colorful new entries into their 2018 lineup, and ironically, they look even the more retro and chic. Called the Thunderbird “X” series, the Chennai based firm has added vibrant new colors to their Thunderbird models which made its debut back in 2000.
Although it never crossed the pond to North America, the Thunderbirds (both 350cc and 500cc) are very popular with the millennials back home in India. Now, Royal Enfield wants to entice the same breed of customers with splashes of colors and never before seen features on the thumper.
2018 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
Husqvarna Motorcycles, long known for its off-road prowess, takes the plunge into the sort-of streetbike market with its new Svartpilen 410. Set up like an urban scrambler, Husky bills the Svartpilen as an entry-level commuter/explorer with an easy-to-ride and fun nature. A 375 cc thumper drives the “Black Arrow” with 43 horsepower waiting to be unleashed under the control of a ride-by-wire throttle and slipper clutch that couples engine power to the six-speed gearbox. Suspension and rolling gear reflect a certain amount of off-road capability, useful for crossing medians and cruising down the beach (check local laws first) or other soft surfaces, the Svartpilen has a certain amount of ’everybike’ in its DNA.
Continue reading for my review of the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401.
Yamaha announces the 2018 TMax SX Sport
More than just a practical commuter, the stylish TMax scooter has been Yamaha’s darling ever since it was launched in 2001. Although it was a bit long in the tooth here, it’s a whole different story across the pond. The scooter was at the top of the ranking charts in Europe for 17 years, and Yamaha has no signs of retiring it from there anytime soon.
While we are still only able to reach our hands on the 2015 model, Yamaha Europe has given the already sporty TMax SX a new upgrade for 2018 that ticks at being the sportiest and sexiest scooter there ever is. Called the ‘TMax SX Sport’ edition, the scooter gets packed with some fancy equipment, confusing a whole lot of new-bees with their decision-making abilities.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
The Suzuki GSX-R made a splash all the way back in 1985, and quickly became a motorcycle-household name, complete with a smooth nickname that just rolls right off the tongue. Since then, the Gixxer has been in continuous production over a wide range of engine sizes, and has even been supplemented by the similar, but more street-friendly, GSX-S range. The GSX-R600 continues the family legacy into the 2018 model year powered with a 599 cc engine and sporty handling that is expected in this prestigious line. Today I want to take a look at what Suzuki has done to keep this long-running family viable and competitive against its many adversaries on both track and street.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R600.
The CCM Spitfire Bobber breaks cover
When Clews Competition Machines unveiled their Spitfire model last February, it made headlines all over the internet and received an insane amount of response from the riding folks. Within a short span of a year, this British marquee has proved well beyond conviction that it can make some of the most striking motorcycles the industry has seen.
CCM’s “SkunkwerX” division has unveiled a new Bobber variant of their new Spitfire range at the 2018 MCN London Motorcycle Show that concluded recently. The bike will use the same 600cc single pot mill that does the job on all the Spitfire models including the Scrambler, Café Racer, and the Flat Tracker.
Finally someone made a Royal Enfield Bobber
Royal Enfield, has been the spoilt choice for many custom bikers and builders around the globe. They are mental, and they are a gold find for its simplistic construction and the liberty for customization. You can chop it up and put them together, and they will carry a whole new charm.
With the soul of ’go anywhere, do anything’ taking up a new meaning every time it goes under the axe, folks from KR Customs in Chennai (the same place Enfields are made these days) have couped up a retro bobber out of the bullet maker’s best-selling model, the Classic 500.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT 600
Benelli’s TNT600 – their biggest sportbike available in the U.S. market – hits the streets for 2018. Powered with a 600 cc engine and upgraded brakes from the previous gen, the TNT 600 is touted as the hottest-selling middleweight naked sportbike in India, though it encounters stiff competition and less-than-enthusiastic response here in North America. Though its roots are Italian, Benelli now comes to us from China. So is it an Italian bike? Or a Chinese bike?
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT 600.