2019 Honda CB650R
After a race to the upper displacement range and a subsequent search for the bottom usable cubage, Honda is revisiting its midrange and spruced up its CB650R ahead of the 2019 model year. That’s right sports fans; the Neo Sport Café concept has gone to production under this new moniker, and it rolls into MY19 with a handful of tweaks that brush up the looks and carve off a little fat. The powerplant also took a beating from the buffhammer to turn out a 5-percent increase in power with steps to improve rideability and safety.
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 café-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.
2017 - 2019 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.
2019 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer
Ducati refined its Scrambler lineup ahead of MY2019, and the Café Racer was on the receiving end of a number of improvements. Curb appeal was buffed with new graphics, a new seat and old-school laced wheels, but it ain’t all about the vanity. The factory upgraded rideability and safety as well. In other words, Duc took one of its best mid-size rides and made it even better.
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.
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.
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.
2018 - 2019 Suzuki SV650X
Suzuki expands its SV650 roadster lineup for the 2019 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 was updated 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.
2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S / S Cafe / S SE
As the lightest bike in the Kawasaki cruiser lineup, the Vulcan S appeals to a variety of riders with adjustable footpegs and options for seat height and handlebar position. Carrying the same low and lean profile of the bigger Vulcan cruisers, the S stable combines Ninja-derived power and handling with the comfort and personalization capabilities of Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit components
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan S, Vulcan S Café and Vulcan S SE.
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:
2017 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
Traffic-carving performance wasn’t the first thing I think of when hearing the name Harley-Davidson, but the MoCo started changing that perception with the new-in-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 decisive push into the sport-standard market.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Rod.
2019 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport
Celebrating 95 years for a company is a big thing and to have survived against all the odds was a mountainous task for Moto Guzzi. Paying tribute to this past effort of custom motorcyclists, MG headed to a major revival plan and launched the new range of V9 platform a couple of years ago that angles towards the cruiser style rather than the V7’s roadster theme.
The first offerings were in the form of the mainstream-custom “Roamer,” and the more sinister “Bobber” that was launched a couple of years ago. For 2019, the Lario eagle moniker is getting a sporty new variant of the Bobber to show its mean and racing side of its character. Called the “V9 Bobber Sport”, is has been inspired from the ‘bobbed’ flat track racers from the ‘50s America.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE
Kawasaki looks to maintain the momentum it garnered last year by rolling its popular Z900RS CAFE straight over into MY2019. And, why not? It’s hard to argue with success, and the retro-tastic looks and modern performance make excellent bedfellows, especially with the Seventies-fabulous graphics as the icing on the proverbial cake. The “CAFE” falls at the Southern edge of liter-bike territory, which could potentially be dangerous for a new rider, but it carries all the requisite safety equipment needed to keep the noobs dirty-side down. Today I want to get into the nuts-and-bolts of the thing and see what else Kawi has crammed under the hood of this charming little tribute piece.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE.
Production ready Harley Davidson LiveWire in the flesh
The Milwaukee brand will enter a new phase in 2019 with its brand new “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” growth plan through 2022. Harley Davidson has showcased multiple concepts under the LiveWire bandwagon including the 2019 production ready LiveWire motorcycle.
The production-ready model is out and we have the flesh sleaze of images in a bright orange getup. And honestly, this is arguably the most forward-thinking machine to have ever come out of the gates by Harley. A huge leap into the unknown for a brand with 115 years of vintage heritage.
2016 - 2019 BMW R nineT Scrambler
The new-from-2016, R nineT Scrambler from the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW Motorrad) rolls into 2019 still based on a general design popular from the ’50s all the way through the ’70s. The Scrambler embodies the form of the original scramblers, while borrowing from the 1951 Beemer R 68. The result is a ride that invokes nostalgia in those old enough to remember the originals and subsequent variants, but also appeals to a younger crowd who appreciates classic looks coupled with updated performance and more reliable technology than its antique predecessors. I say that with confidence since I fall into the latter group, and I am really digging this new-old ride, so join me for a dissection of this scrambler descendant as I try to determine how closely this apple fell to the tree.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R nineT Scrambler.
2019 Levis Motorcycles V6 Cafe-Racer concept
Levis (Le-Viss not Lee-Vize) was a pre-WWII motorcycle maker (1911–1940) producing both two-stroke and four-stroke machines. With the craze of the British designs and brands taking mainstage in the industry currently, Levis is having a grand comeback in the most modern fashion and will join the likes of Ariel, BSA, Brough, Hesketh, Matchless, and Norton.
Set to be launched later in 2018, the Birmingham company is bringing out its new creation, the Levis V6 Cafe Racer. As you might have already guessed, it will run a V6 configuration with an incredibly narrow 22-degree V-angle, producing a decent 120bhp and 130ftlb of torque.
Levis Motorcycles showcases its V6 Cafe-Racer concept
Levis (Le-Viss not Lee-Vize), the Birmingham company is bringing out its new creation, the Levis V6 Cafe Racer. Showcased as a prototype, the dramatic body of the unconventional café-racer is quite evident. It will run a V6 configuration with an incredibly narrow 22-degree V-angle, producing a decent 120 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque.
The same V6 will also power multiple genres of motorcycles in the future. The concept on display sees an in-house developed gearbox, stainless steel frames, interchangeable stainless panels and CNC machined from solid aluminum billet front forks, yokes, hand controls, wheels, radial calipers and headlamp.
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.