Honda’s dreamy CBX six-cylinder could make a comeback
Manufactured by Honda between 1978 and 1982, the CBX was a production bike that has deceiving bodywork and a massive 1047cc inline, 24-valve, 6-cylinder engine that produced 105 hp. That low-frequency rumble coming out of this at idle and the high pitch tone when revved could make the hair on the back of your neck stand.
Until now, Honda hadn’t shown much interest in recreating that magic, but fresh patent application images show the Japanese intent to bring the beauty of the six cylinders onto a café-racer of the future.
BMW updates its 2019 model line-up
The race to the top is getting more fearsome every passing day, and the manufacturers are pulling out every little trick they have up their sleeves to make their product stand out from the rest.
BMW Motorrad is at the forefront of imagination, innovation, and technology and proof of that is their list of the finest motorcycles that set benchmarks for every other maker to chase it. Keeping the race alive, the German manufacturer has released a host of updates to its 2019 lineup, including its scooters, six-cylinder tourers, R NineT retro models, and the new adventure machines.
Royal Enfield pulls the plug for the Continental GT 535
Royal Enfield has become one of the world’s fastest growing motorcycle brand coming from the subcontinent India. Famously called the “Bullet Maker”, it has made great strides ever since Eicher took over the self-attested “oldest motorcycle company in continuous production in the world” has been making bold moves to be heard the world over.
The most recent one of those is to shelve its first ever Café-Racer model, the Continental GT 535. It was their current flagship model that gave the post-British brand the needed visibility in the markets other than its home, and is soon going to be replaced with the Continental GT 650 twin-cylinder brother.
2018 Norton Commando 961 California
The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten continuous years, but the model slowly lost its steam. The Commando has since seen a number of attempted revivals, with several entities trying to capture some of the success of the original, with varying degrees of success.
For its 50th anniversary, the British maker has given it an update and launched the 2018 Commando 961 California. ‘The easy riding roadster’. It ditches all the darkness and adorns a timeless classic styling with chrome all-over reminiscent of the ‘70s American motorcycling.
2018 BMW R nineT Racer
BMW Motorrad must have said that they are done with the R nine T family and are moving out of the heritage scene, but it cannot stop people from wanting more out of it. The R nine T has absolutely been a hit story for the German ever since the launch in 2013. It was so good that BMW initially struggled to keep up with the demand and they released one version after the other in succession to the world stage that includes the Pure (roadster), Scrambler and the Urban G/S.
But nothing looked and felt as retro as the R nine T Racer which embodies classic 1970s’ café-racer cues taking us back in time with modern design bits and sophisticated packaging. Released first in 2016, the Racer gave us a chance to relive the era of legendary superbikes, and it does that even today albeit with a modern 1170 cc mil and up-spec chassis elements.
2018 Royal Enfield Contintental GT 650
The self-attested “oldest motorcycle company in continuous production in the world” has been making the right moves to be heard the world over. And their recent project seems to have gained a lot of traction ever since the last EICMA show where they showcased the 650cc retro twins running on brand new twin-cylinder engines.
In a bid to create a niche market for themselves, the Bullet maker decided to step up their game both in the number of cylinders and capacity. Christened as the Continental GT 650, it heralds a new chapter for Royal Enfield, a company that until now made only 350cc-535cc single barrel machines.
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe
Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. With almost every brand entering the neo-classic craze, Kawasaki brought one of its own classics back. Although it has the W800, the Z900RS depicts a much more modern take with thoroughly done modish mechanical features, fit and finish.
Now, the same guys have gone ahead and given it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.
Unwrapped at the 2017 EICMA show, the wardrobe change has made the standard RS the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe. And Kawasaki has decided that we deserve to drive them on our roads and are bringing it to the North American showroom floors as the 2018 model.
2018 Suzuki SV650X
Suzuki expands its SV650 roadster lineup for the 2018 model year with its café-tastic SV650X ABS. The “X” sports some subtle changes to the bodywork, plus a not-so-subtle bullet fairing to make that crucial historical connection to the target era sometime back in the seventies. The suspension system saw an update this year for the whole SV650 family across the board, and it brings a spring-preload feature to the front end that will be difficult to match at this price point and genre. Power comes from the same 645 cc twin that pushes the rest of the family with 75 ponies ready to go and a handful of electronic fandangelries to help manage them. What else has Suzuki got in store for us? Let’s dig into this tasty mid-size ride and see.
Continue reading for our review of the Suzuki SV650X.
Kawasaki could have an Endurance model in the Z900RS class
Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, manufacturers are spinning motorcycles that exuberate the classic appeal and character that goes on to showcase their point of arrival into the world of two wheels. With almost every brand entering the neo-classic craze, Kawasaki also brought one of its own classics back, the Z900RS. Although it has the W800, the Z900RS will depict a much more modern take with thoroughly done modish mechanical features, fit and finish.
OBIBOI, our favorite Italian artist has reasons to believe that the Japanese Green Team have another model back in their head that might see the light sometime in the near future. To be called the Z900 RSR Endurance, Oberdan Bezzi sketched a ‘70s replica of the brand’s Endurance feats taking cues from the KR250/500 and the present Z900RS Café.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled
Ducati’s Scrambler line grew yet again in the 2017 model year with the addition of the Café Racer and Desert Sled. The Scrambler range has proven to be a veritable mine of possibilities as Ducati capable model in the entire range, and the Café Racer, well, it comes set up to look cool in an urban environment. Both rides get the same 803 cc mill that powers the rest of the Scrambler variants along with much the same chassis, but the differences, however minor, make all the difference in the world.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled.
TVS is already producing a single cylinder G 310R for BMW Motorrad in their Hosur plant. This is no new news that BMW teamed up with TVS Motors in a Euro 20 million partnership to support them with the manufacturing and distribution of smaller capacity motorcycles, starting with the G 310R. In the USA, the baby Beemer has been making steady strides for its ease of usage and functionality.
An Italian artist who goes by the name Oberdan Bezzi, also famously called as OBIBOI has sketched an impressive looking concept which might be expected from the BMW Motorrad stable in the future for the entry-level segment.
A cheaper Royal Enfield Continental GT from Thailand
The Continental GT 650 is Royal Enfield‘s way of making the most powerful and the lightest modern day cafe racer which blends retro style with modern appeal perfectly. Powered by a 650cc, parallel-twin, air-oil-cooled engine which generates more power than any other Royal Enfield motorcycle till date. Since its launch in 2010, the Continental looks and feel very much in the 60s’ and 70’s and is unique. Not anymore though.
A Thailand based motorcycle manufacturer called Centaur recently launched a Continental GT lookalike and named it as the Stallion Centaur Siam 150cc. When I say lookalike, I mean a carbon copy. They have basically taken all the retro elements including the body panels off the GT and fixed on a smaller chassis and a smaller 150cc engine.
Deus Ex Machina has come out with the Mad Max tribute on a Z900RS
Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. The same guys then gave it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.
When the Z900RS met the fans of the 1979 MadMax original movie, who also happen to be the top custom builders from the land down under, a tribute to Jim ‘Goose’ aka best friend of ‘Max’ was in order. Goose rode on his modded 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 having a huge fairing upfront supplied by the now-defunct Melbourne-based company La Parisienne.
2016 - 2018 Norton Dominator
The Dominator from Norton captures the look and feel of the limited-edition Domiracer, but with a more production-friendly and street-legal layout. Norton may have been a bit surprised at the pace at which the Domiracers got snapped up and at the high rate of conversion to street-legal status, but its response was right on target. Powered by an in-house-developed 961 cc parallel twin, the Dominator is quite expensive, but do you get a lot of bike for that dough?
Continue reading for my review of the Norton Dominator.
2018 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
Honda revamped its naked CB1000R for the 2018 model year, but rather than dressing it up, the Red Riders actually dressed it down even further with a retro cafe’-racer kick. The CB1000R replaced the CB600F Hornet back in ’08 and its naked streetfighter presentation and performance envelope was an instant hit all across Europe. Fast forward to ’18 and we find it still going strong with the same 998 cc mill and a brand new handle as the Neo-Sports Café’. Subtle refinements give the NSC a new look that takes inspiration from the past without becoming enslaved to it, and the result is fresh, modern and appropriately aggressive. Today I’m going to take a look at this decade old model to see what else Honda has done to keep it relevant and competitive in today’s market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB1000R.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
Traffic-carving performance isn’t the first thing I think of when hearing the name Harley-Davidson, but the MoCo is going about changing that perception with the new-from-2017 Street Rod 750. While it is, in fact, based on the current 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 most decisive push so far into the sport-standard market. A bold move to be sure, and as Harley enters territory traditionally dominated by the Asian and European manufacturers, it won’t enjoy the same name power that it does in the cruising and touring sector. With all that in mind I want to take a look at this ambitious ride today to see what’s new and how well it stacks up to its entrenched competition. I think it’s safe to take it as a given that the MoCo has its work cut out for it, to say the very least, so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Rod.
If Vespa made more than just scooters, this is how they might look
The Vespa today takes the best of fine Italian dressing and packs it in a niche retro silhouette. It became a cornucopia of sorts for people wanting a machine that could take them back in time and re-live the classic age. People love Vespa or simply hate their classic vintage looks.
How would you react seeing a Vespa chopper? Or a Vespa Enduro motorcycle? It is tough to imagine one right? Thanks to the chaps at Jennings Harley-Davidson, a dealership with shops in both Leeds and Gateshead in the UK, you don’t have to break your head much for it.
They’ve designed six absolutely bonkers Vespa concepts that distill visual cues and character of what the Italian retro maker could actually push outside their factories down the lane. Or probably not. But why not have some fun imagining yeah?
What if these car companies made motorcycles?
I know what you are thinking. Companies like Honda, BMW, Suzuki, and Peugeot are already making both cars and motorcycles. They have successfully managed both the shows and show no signs of aging or trouble to either one because of the other. Yamaha is also trying to get a piece of the four-wheeled world with ‘The Sports Ride’ concept.
But what if exotic car makers like McLaren, Mustang, Porsche, and Rolls-Royce made motorcycles? It would be awesome, of course, but how would they look like? Well, we might have an answer to that. Thanks to the chaps at Jennings Harley-Davidson, a dealership with shops in both Leeds and Gateshead in the UK.
They’ve designed six absolutely bonkers motorcycle concepts that distill visual cues and character of what the company actually makes.
This is the voguish OSSA Monocasco
If you find that name weird, don’t coax yourself. Even I needed a while to familiarize myself with the Spanish brand.
Active for a very brief period from 1924 to 1982, OSSA (Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anónima) first made movie projectors and then shifted to being a motorcycle manufacturer only in 1949 that was best known for producing lightweight, two-stroke-engined bikes used in observed trials, motocross, and enduro.
Paying tribute to the brand and the OSSA 250 Monocasc GP motorcycle, the folks at a Barcelona design company concocted an electric concept bike that according to my tastes is the most soothing looking thing ever made on two wheels. It is almost as if your eyes can just flow over those curves. It’s called the Monocasco.
2014 - 2018 Royal Enfield Continental GT
India-based Royal Enfield has been busy expanding its footprint as of late. The newly-minted U.S. dealerships will be scampering for a piece of the action with a bike that is sure to appeal to the increasingly-important Millennial buyers— the cafe’-tastic Continental GT. Built with an unmistakeable retro flavor and powered by a 535 cc, 29.1-horsepower engine, the GT brings a relatively authentic cafe’ experience to the table. Maybe even a little too authentic in some ways, perhaps? We’ll find out. The factory established a foothold on U.S. soil just a few years ago and it has introduced its very first engine to be designed in-house, but the GT is more of a reflection of the company’s deep roots than a product of its more progressive agenda.
Continue reading for my review of the Royal Enfield Continental GT.
2016 - 2018 Triumph Thruxton 1200 / 1200 R
Triumph has been busy as of late, expending vast energies and resources reinvigorating the venerable Bonneville range. The Thruxton family got some lovin’ in 2016 and the new incarnation certainly had big shoes to fill considering the fame and glory associated with the Thruxton name from back in the ’60s and ’70s, a fact not lost on the designers. A brand-new engine drives the range, and a whole host of modern, race-tastic features brings the old-school cafe’ racer look to the table with contemporary performance and features that make it less like just a tribute piece, and more of a modern machine with real-world relevance.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Thruxton 1200 and Thruxton 1200 R.