Commuting Motorcycles

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2022 Yamaha Zuma 125

2022 Yamaha Zuma 125

Ample torque low in the rev range and strong power delivery right up to the top end

Yamaha tweaks its Zuma 125 scooter platform ahead of MY2022 with a handful of improvements across the board. Fuel-efficient power comes from a new “Blue Core” engine sporting some pretty fancy fandanglery in the valvetrain. Rugged new bodywork and a re-imagined headlight area seal the deal to further separate this newest-generation adventure scooter from its predecessors and peers.

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2021 - 2022 Triumph Bonneville T100

2021 - 2022 Triumph Bonneville T100

A thoroughly modern ride straight out of the history books

Triumph tuned up its Bonneville 900 High Torque plant that powers the modern-classic T100 ahead of MY2021. The new version is both cleaner and stronger with snappier throttle responses than ever before along with a higher red line. New forks float the lighter chassis with new top-shelf Brembo brake components to make the T100 more fun to ride and safer to boot.

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2021 Aprilia Tuono 660

2021 Aprilia Tuono 660

It has the performance of the RS 660 and the comfort of a sport-tourer

Aprilia rolls into 2021 with an all-new addition to its stable of race-capable street-legal machines, the Tuono 660. Billed as a cross between the Tuono V4 and the RS 660, this bike carries a mid-size parallel-twin with all the appropriate ride-control and safety electronics, all under a windtunnel-tested bodywork style inspired by its larger race-tastic stablemates. Perhaps best of all is the sticker that barely breaks the $10k mark to put this magnificent model within reach for a significant portion of the would-be sport-riding public. This is one of those rare machines that will cover a wide range of riders from beginner to pro.

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2020 - 2021 Indian Scout Bobber Twenty

2020 - 2021 Indian Scout Bobber Twenty

It’s got an old-school bobber look with a modern ride

With its recent success on the Flat Track circuit and burgeoning footprint in the worldwide market, it’s easy to forget that Indian Motorcycle is actually America’s oldest bike manufacturer, and the marque reminds us of its deep roots with the new Scout Bobber Twenty model. This bike takes us right back to the custom bikes of the early 1900s with bobbed sheet metal, blackout treatment, and laced wheels on a modern chassis that mimics the geometry of the old-school hardtail bikes. A modern V-twin delivers 100 ponies for your riding pleasure, and ABS protection is available on all the colorways to deliver some modern safety as well.

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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125

Cross a KTM Duke 125 with a Husky Svartpilen 401 and this is what you get

Husqvarna expanded its burgeoning Svartpilen lineup downward with the addition of the entry-level “125” model, the smallest in the family. A 125 cc thumper drives a rugged machine that has clear urban DNA with a dual-sport bent. The lightweight and narrow-waisted 125 both enables and encourages the use of body English so you can practice and get accustomed to shifting around on a bike. For our friends in areas with tiered learner’s permits, the 125 comes “A1” compliant right off the showroom floor to make it even more accessible for younger riders.

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2022 BMW C 400 GT

2022 BMW C 400 GT

Improvements all around, the BMW C 400 GT doesn’t disappoint

The bigwigs over at the Bayerische Motoren Werke pared down its scooter exports to the U.S. to a single model ahead of MY2022, the new 2022 BMW C 400 GT. No, it’s not net-new, but it does carry a number of improvements in both the mechanics and the electronics to make it new enough. Generous under-seat storage and a vented windshield contribute to its utility as a commuter and/or grocery-getter. Perhaps best of all, the drivetrain has long-enough legs to make it suitable for interstate/highway travel and sure to find fun wherever it goes.

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2021 BMW R 1250 RT

2021 BMW R 1250 RT

BMW puts the ’sport’ in sport-tour

BMW heads into MY2021 with a significant facelift and upgrade package for its bagger-tastic R 1250 RT. A nip here and tuck there presents a new face to the world with equally-new instrumentation and a revised windscreen to complete the package. As a showroom bagger, it rolls with rider comfort as a front-burner item and comes stock with panniers for immediate utility as a tour bike, commuter, or grocery-getter. The cherry on top is the Active Cruise Control feature that uses radar technology to bring a level of safety to the motorcycle market that has mainly been restricted to use on vehicles with four wheels or more.

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2022 Kawasaki KLR 650

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650

After a two-year hiatus, the KLR 650 returns to the line-up more adventuresome than ever

Kawasaki leaps ahead to its 2022 model-year lineup with a new KLR 650 family. The base model comes with a number of improvements to the engine and electronics, all wrapped up under new bodywork. Fuel injection replaces the carburetor this year to modernize the powerplant along with a new instrument panel and updated lighting that does the same for the rest of the bike. If the base model isn’t exactly as adventure-tastic as you’d like, the factory put together an “Adventure” accessory pack and a touring “Traveler” trim package for a pair of bona fide adventure bikes that are good to go right off the showroom floor.

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2017 - 2020 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT

2017 - 2020 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT

The maxi-scooter almost too beefy to be a mere scooter

Nobody blurs the line between scooter and ’proper’ motorcycle better than the engineers at BMW, and the C 650 range is no exception. The C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models have very few changes, but that’s not surprising given how difficult it would be to improve upon the bundle of features already built in. I mean, it’s a scooter with traction control and ABS on board, plus a relatively large and powerful engine with a sophisticated engine management system, so this is ’not’ your grandfather’s scooter. I have a great appreciation for German engineering, so I’m looking to see what all Beemer has tucked away on its not-so-little maxi-scooter.

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2017 - 2020 Ducati Monster 797 / 797 Plus

2017 - 2020 Ducati Monster 797 / 797 Plus

It’s an approachable naked monster

Ducati added to its “Monster” family in 2017 with the accessible and relatively rider-friendly “797” version of its popular naked bike. This ride uses the same 803 cc mill that drives the full-size Scramblers, so while it isn’t a net-new engine, it is a proven one. Dual front brakes with ABS, Pirelli tires and fat Kayaba forks are but some of the features included in what looks to be the closest to an “entry level” ride that the Monster family has managed to date. I was eager to take a look at this new ride ever since it was revealed at the Milan show, and what I see so far does not disappoint. In 2018, the Monster 797+ replaced the base model with some extra goodies added in.

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2018 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-S1000

2018 - 2020 Suzuki GSX-S1000

The beauty of a gixxer engine in a naked chassis

Engine upgrades joined other improvements in the 2018 model year as Suzuki pushed to keep its sport-standard-sector momentum going with the GSX-S1000. The family tree branched yet again with the new-in-2018, blackout GSX-S1000Z and Suzuki dropped the “F” in favor of the “FZ” for 2019, but the “F” returns for 2020. The family now has even more of what it takes to dominate the street with a Gixxer engine in a naked bike chassis.

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2021 Honda NC750X

2021 Honda NC750X

Honda updated their baby Africa Twin to make a capable commuter

Honda’s adventuresome NC750X got a facelift ahead of the 2021 model-year that includes refined front fairings for improved penetration and an enlarged cargo space to contribute to its utility as both an adventure bike and a commuter cycle. The engine also enjoyed a few mechanical tweaks along with an improved electronic-control system, and the lump lost some weight so even more of that power is converted into acceleration. A new slipper-type clutch and re-calibrated transmission completes the MY2021 package with a concurrent gain in safety. Shorter gear-ratios for the first three gears let you come out of the hole like a champ while remaining in the usable powerband.

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2016 - 2019 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

2016 - 2019 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

Who doesn’t have fun on a scrambler?

The scrambler market is booming, and so far, Ducati is ahead of the curve with a full range of purpose-built Scrambler models. It added to the lineup in 2016 with its Scrambler Sixty2, a model that reflects what the factory calls modern pop culture, with a liberal dose of sixties, mid-size standard cruiser flavor blended in. Powered with a 399 cc L-twin, the Sixty2 isn’t a poser in a scrambler costume; it’s ready to rock and roll.

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