2019 Yamaha Niken GT
It became apparent very quickly that Yamaha had a hit on its hands with its Leaning Multi-Wheel Niken, so the Tuning Fork Company looks to keep the momentum going with a tour-tastic, Gran Turismo variant. The “GT” brings that LMW stability and performance to the table along with a number of comfort-related upgrades and storage features that are meant to help you expand your horizons right off the showroom floor. We’re talking about features that would set you back several grand if you were to try to build one out of an accessories catalog. This is an exciting development for trike fans, so today I want to take a look at the new GT and see how it stacks up against some of the likely competitors.
2019 Kawasaki W800 Café
Classic looks and modern performance come together with a 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, homegrown appeal.
Continue reading for my look at the Kawasaki W800 Café.
2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic / 900 Classic LT / 900 Custom
Kawasaki created its Vulcan line back in 1984 in an attempt to capture a slice of the American cruiser market, and it is still alive and kicking in 2019. The family includes a trio of models from the boulevard bruiser “900 Classic” to the heritage-style “900 Classic LT” and the home-cooked “900 Custom.” A 900 cc, V-twin mill and 600-plus pound curb weight put the range firmly in the mid-size cruiser category and give it the mass one expects to find an American cruiser.
2017 - 2019 Triumph Street Cup
Triumph expanded its Bonneville Street Twin family a bit to include the new-in-2017 Street Cup. The SC brings the café-tastic vibe of the Thruxton to a smaller engine bracket with a 900 cc mill, thus opening up the club-racing world to entry-level riders and offering experienced riders the option of downsizing for convenience without giving up too much in the way of fun. Sporty and quick, this ride seems to be everything one would expect from a contemporary café racer.
2019 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport
Moto Guzzi modified its already-sporty V9 Bobber with even more race-tastic yummy-goodness to produce its new-for-2019 V9 Bobber Sport. The “Sport” pays homage to the post-WWII flat dirt track racers of the late forties and fifties with beefy tires, liberal blackout treatment and fork boots. Aesthetics may be intentionally dated, but performance from the 850 twin is entirely modern with a double dose of electronic safety gear to boot. A special, two-tone palette wraps the package up and identifies it at a glance, and of course, the racing bits make a slightly more subtle impact that further sets it apart from the base V9 Bobber.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport.
2019 MV Augusta F4 Claudio
Tribute pieces frequently pay homage to a particular year-model or perhaps a certain race, but MV Agusta’s F4 “Claudio” is a piece of art that doubles as a mobile shrine to its designer; Claudio Castiglioni. The factory used the F4 as a platform for a whole host of ’luxe aesthetics that brush up the looks; no mean feat for a bike called “the world’s best-looking bike” back in ’97. This machine is far from all-show/no-go. It comes with track-capable power and the electronics you’ll need to keep it all under control. It’s truly a spectacular specimen, but don’t take my word for it, read on and let me convince you.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F4 Claudio.
2017 - 2019 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 MY2019. 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.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 R.
2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin
Honda gave its CRF1000L “Africa Twin” a complete overhaul for the 2018 model year, a rebuild so complete that the new version shares not a single part with the old, according to the factory. Engine improvements include both hardware and software that starts with a Throttle-by-Wire system that enables even more electronic wizardry under the hood, as it were. The improvements make their way into the gearboxes on both the manual tranny and the optional, auto-shifting DCT. The factory buffed safety as well with a handful of new features such as the Emergency Stop Signal feature that flashes the hazards during hard braking actions. There’s plenty more packed in there, so let’s go ahead and get into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Africa Twin.
2019 Triumph Street Twin
Triumph Motorcycles reprises its Street Twin model ahead of MY2019 in a bid to maintain the momentum it garnered in ’18 with updated looks and performance to match. This is Trumpet’s most popular unit within its modern-classic lineup, so the pressure is on to give everyone more of what they want. New, first-in-class technology works under the hood to make your rides safer, and improvements to the engine boost the fun-factor by something in the neighborhood of 18-percent for a difference that will definitely register on the old heinie-dyno. I’m curious to see how it hold up to closer scrutiny as well as how it holds up against a likely opponent, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Twin.
2019 Triumph Street Scrambler
Triumph’s Street Scrambler made a splash when it hit the market a couple of years ago, and the factory rolls out a fresh, new generation for the 2019 model year. That’s right; the “SS” brings more yummy-goodness to the table with an updated look to go with a whole passel of improved electronic features that turn this classic into a thoroughly modern ride. It isn’t all about the visuals and hang-on gear either, the powerplant generates 18% more fun (or power, if you insist) for your riding enjoyment. Really, it would almost be easier to tell you what isn’t new, but that’s not why they feed me, so let’s dig into this new Trumpet and see if we can find a suitable competitor for it.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Scrambler.
2018 - 2019 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 field.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha MT-09.
2018 - 2019 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 the rider manage said power and (hopefully) keep the power delivery synched with the rider’s skill level. Also new from 2018 is the Quick Shift System that helps you run through the gears even faster so you can 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.
Continue reading for my look at the Yamaha MT-10.
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 Scramblers of 2018
Reinforced for off-road duty, Scramblers of today hark back at the South-West California and the Mexico’s Baja scenes in the ’60s and ’70s. They were fitted with engines displacing upwards of 500cc and stripped off anything that is nonsensical to run on roads or no roads. Featured on these were off-road tires, wheels, and spokes and were given modified suspension systems and engine skid plates; a trademark indispensable in shielding the bike from rocks, stones, and the unforgiving desert terrain.
Here is our list of Scrambleresque motorcycles of 2018 that promise to churn out rugged, stripped down, vintage fun resurrected from its heyday during the 1960’s and earlier. Aiding it will be a torquey motor with high mounted exhaust pipes and knobby tires to take it on terrains otherwise not possible.
Top 10 Sports-Tourers of 2018
Call them bikes that perfectly fill the gap between thrilling sportsbike and the gigantic touring machines, sports-tourers are simply long haul motorcycles with sportbike expectations built to get the best out of that long way home. Here is our list of 2018’s top ten machines offering the same capabilities as touring bikes but without sacrificing any of the sporty performance.
They tend to be a bit lighter and corner well but aren’t the most comfortable. The riding position tends to be a bit more relaxed compared to sports machines, there’s better wind protection, much better pillion comforts, transmission with lower gearing and usually a whole quick release pannier system designed in.
Top 10 Sportsbike of 2018
In a world where outright horsepower and straight-line speed hold center stage, these machines have blazed the streets and have swept us off our feet in the most fashionable ways possible. Built for speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering, they come equipped with components from the industry’s best names to achieve a little more speed every single time they get on the paved asphalt.
With the emphasis of a sport bike being on performance, there are certain design elements that most motorcycles of this type will share. Rider ergonomics favor function. Apart form the high performing engines, they are built to cut through the air as smoothly as possible. High tech and expensive materials are often used on sport bikes to reduce weight.
Top 10 Cafe-Racers of 2018
Racing on bikes from café to café before a song could finish was the most therapeutic thing to have happened for motorcyclists in the ‘70s. Inspired by this culture, people and manufacturers started building motorcycles with minimal components to take them the distance in the shortest time. It embodied the classic café-racer cues taking us back in time with modern design bits and sophisticated packaging.
Here is our list of the best ten motorcycles of 2018 that remind us of that ‘70s. Round headlights, debonair half-shell fairing, humped seat, rear seat cowl, extended wheelbase, and the low-slung handlebar, it’s all in each one of these machines:
2016 - 2019 Yamaha XSR900
Influenced by the classic “XS” series from the ’70s and ’80s, the XSR900 from Yamaha shows its roots with retro styling and stepped seating combined with just enough modern tech that you know you’re in the 21st century. At first glance, it looks like a nice little bike: compact and sporty. On second glance...and third...it looks like a whole lot of bike for an affordable price.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha XSR900.
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: