2016 - 2022 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec / Bolt C-Spec
The Bolt from Yamaha’s Star cruiser line is a cool little bobber-style bike with its high tank, short wheelbase, and solo seat. It’s a nice around town bike — lightweight and agile — and naked with real-steel sheet metal, so it just begs you to customize it. What could be better? Enter the Bolt’s siblings, the dressier Bolt R-Spec and the café racer Bolt C-Spec. The Spec duo are every bit as snappy and fun to ride as the Bolt, but with some upgrades, both hardware and cosmetic. Powered by the air-cooled 942 cc V-twin engine, the Specs are in the same size slot as the Bolt: not too small that you’ll outgrow it right away and not so big to be overwhelming for new riders. At just a few bills more than the Bolt, they’re worth a look.
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125
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.
2018 - 2022 Yamaha XMAX
Yamaha brought the XMAX to the U.S. market with a 27.6-horsepower mill that promises enough speed to be safe, even comfortable, at highway velocities, and that’s muy importante in the American market. This performance comes bundled with a decidedly modern and mature look that just screams metro-commuter.
2015 - 2022 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic-cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.
2021 - 2022 Honda NC750X
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 completed 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.
2020 - 2022 Yamaha MT-03
Yamaha expands its MT lineup with an all-new-in-2020, entry-level model, the MT-03. Previously available in other markets, it joins the MT-07, -09 and -10 within Yamaha’s hyper-naked range it touts as the “Dark Side of Japan.” The MT-03 toes the family line with minimalist appointments that waste not an ounce on superfluous details. Power delivery is both smooth and predictable to reinforce its rider-friendly nature. ABS protection provides an extra safety net to help make sure you keep it rubber-side down.
2017 - 2022 Suzuki SV650
Suzuki continued with the evolution of the SV650 line with the all-new-in-2017 SV650. Built on the success of the original SV650 that covered 1999 through 2008, and its offspring, the SFV650 “Gladius,” the new ride carries the SV DNA into a new generation. With a revamped 645 cc engine, it has more horsepower than ever before.
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
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.
2015 - 2022 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 line is well established with the Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114
Harley-Davidson ditched the Milwaukee-Eight 107 and repowered its Street Bob platform ahead of MY2021 with the powerful Mil-8 114 to give it a performance boost over its predecessor. This makes it the least expensive stoplight burner in the 2021 lineup, as well as the lightest Big-Twin to carry the up-sized Milwaukee engine. The homejob-custom look is a carryover from last year but the graphics package is unique to this year-model setting it apart from its peers.
2021 Piaggio MP3 300 hpe
Piaggio’s littlest MP3 – the 300 hpe Euro 5 – serves as the entry-level model for its groundbreaking leaning-trike scooter family. Able to be driven with a B license, the “300” brings all of the stability and safety of the larger models to the table in a compact package that’s all about urban mobility. Practical and relatively safe compared to two-wheeled machines, the MP3 carries itself with dignity and grace with a business-like mien that is sure to appeal to urban professionals and students alike.
Is This The Most Significant Motorcycle of All Time?
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the Street 500 and 750 are premium Harley-Davidson even though they’re geared toward the budget-minded, entry-level crowd. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color, and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in an economy-priced bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.
2021 Triumph Trident 660
With the release of the Trident 660, Triumph has hit the jackpot right out of the box and matched, if not beaten, all the competition in in one fell swoop. With a brilliant engine and chassis, stunning build quality and great looks, it may be small and compact and carry a competitive price tag, but has so much character and ability that you have to wonder how Triumph has done it.
2019 - 2021 Yamaha YZF-R125
Yamaha takes early indoctrination to a whole new level with its YZF-R125 meant to scoop up riders who live in areas that use the tiered-license system. That’s right, it’s an R-series model specifically built for A-1 license holders in Europe and the U.K. The trackside DNA is evident in the overall look that borrows heavily from its larger-displacement siblings in keeping with it intended use as an entry-level trainer. Supersport looks and handling meet license restrictions to make this a proper first-timer’s bike.
2021 - 2022 Triumph Bonneville T100
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.
2021 Aprilia Tuono 660
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.
2020 - 2021 Indian Scout Bobber Twenty
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.
2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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.