Top 10 Street Motorcycles of 2018
Naked, lightweight and narrow. The perfect combination for the urban jungleby Sagar Patil, on
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:
Although it is the smallest bike from BMW, when it comes to performance, it is anything but small. Perfect for a handful of folks new to motorcycles, it is a rocket trainer for the experienced purists and is sure hell lot of fun for everyone riding on this machine around town.
The combination of being lightweight and having a real powerhouse has always won the wars for every manufacturer, and this is no exception. As the tagline says, this bike is manufactured for the world market, and it does the job of pleasing everyone rather naturally. For the BMW good looks unmistakably run in the family and this G 310R takes the genes of the S 1000 R.
This engine will deliver 34 bhp at 9,500 rpm, with a 10,500 rpm limiter, and a stated maximum torque of 21 lb-ft at 7,500 rpm. A moderate compression ratio of 10.6:1 is aimed at running this in different markets across the globe. Clutch action is light but misses out on a slipper clutch, probably the reason why the idling is at 1500rpm ruling out rear wheel chatter on the overrun. Euro 4-compliant catalyst whispers rather than booms. But that is of course only below 5000 rpm.
The suspension is well calibrated and uses the KYB 41 mm inverted forks and a mono shock. This provides a highly rigid composite structure for exact control of the front wheel, thus giving the G 310 R a directionally precise and secure steering response. 5-spoke alloy wheels wearing 110/70R17 and 150/60R17 tire keeps un-sprung weight down at the axles. Stopping this is by ByBre (Brembo’s Indian subsidiary) 300mm single disc front brake with radially bolted 4-piston fixed caliper and 240mm rear disc brake with 2-piston floating caliper. In-house dual channel ABS is a standard feature.
This baby BMW is priced starting at $4,750 (including ABS). The BMW G 310 R will be available in the three strikingly expressive color variants Cosmic Black/Polar White non-metallic, Strato Blue Metallic and the elaborately designed Pearl White metallic.
After the success of their liter CB1000R Neo-Café, Honda North America gave us the their baby naked, the CB300R. Like the CB1000R, it showcases a whole new flavor of Honda, and it looks brutishly handsome with the sharp looks of a naked sports machine and that retro flair of a modern café-racer.
Honda says that they have left nothing to chances and have carefully selected every inch of the bike with its aesthetic effect in mind that synergizes with the craze of the modern-retro vibe the industry is seeing over the last decade. Iconic round headlamp LEDs’, flangeless tank design, multi-functional LCD dash (Sadly no TFT’s here), aluminum radiator cowl, swingarm mounted rear fender, and many other bits give us the taste of the ’Neo-Sport Café’ concept.
Powering it will be an all-new liquid-cooled, 286cc, single-cylinder engine bolted onto the tubular pressed-steel frame. The CB300R, although comes in as entry points to the motorcycling segments, they do however get kitted up with high specification 41mm USD forks, radial-mount 4-piston front brake calipers and several other features more usually found on much larger machines such as LCD instrument display, LED lighting and IMU-based ABS.
It will be priced at $4,649 MSRP, with a $300 premium for those who like the notion of ABS.
There is no doubt in the fact that the updated 2017 Duke 390 is definitely one of the best motorcycles under the 500 cc naked category. It not only gets sharper styling but also an additional ride by wire throttle and a new exhaust system. The first in segment TFT instrument cluster and LED headlight is swanky and opens up a lot more user experience for you to go through.
The 2017 Duke 390 will continue with the same 373cc, liquid cooled, single-cylinder engine which is capable of producing about 44 bhp @ 9,000 and 26.5 lb-ft of torque @ 7,000 rpm. The single cylinder engine paired to a six-speed gearbox, with short ratios to make the bottom end as well as top-end performance much more thrilling. There is an Evaporative Emission Control System ‘EVAP’ system that prevents fuel evaporation, a new Bosch fuel pump and a new CAN BUS system from the Moto3 WSBK with love.
The Duke 390 still has not received any upgrades regarding chassis, and thus it still uses the light steel grade frame which optimizes handling and precision. The bike gets adjustable brake and clutch levers, giving a far more superior control for the rider and boost his accuracy levels. Then there is this new subframe which means that you now seat 30 mm higher than the old Duke 390.
At the front, the Duke comes fitted with open cartridge adjustable 43mm inverted hydraulic telescopic forks, while at the rear, it comes with a fully adjustable hydraulic mono shock with rear aluminum swingarm, both of which are sourced from WP. In development with Brembo, KTM has developed a powerful and excellently adjustable brake system. The pads are now sintered, and at the front, the bike gets a 320 mm disc and a 230 mm unit at the rear. The ABS is made by Bosch and is switchable
KTM USA has raised the asking price of the Duke 390 to $5,299, a $300 upwards from the previous edition. The bike now also gets UV resistant paint to keep the color from fading due to exposure to the sun. The motorcycle is available with a KTM Orang&Black and White&Black color option as of now.
Ducati has been making Scramblers which could have been abused on roads that don’t exist, but it pleased the urban way and the masses rather and hence they became glorified street bikes. They became the street iterations of the South-West California and Mexico’s Baja scenes in the ’60s and ’70s.
The Hashtag 400 takes all of its cues from the Scrambler Sixty2 that ran the streets of America right up until last year. The same bare-ass nakedness rolls on here with the minimal frame components and a light, clean look. The same round headlight setup and the offset digital instrumentation make way here.
It runs on the same powertrain made of the 399 cc, air-cooled, L-twin engine that cranks out 41 ponies and 25.5 pounds of grunt, sufficient power for fun while staying well within the manageable range. The same six-speed transmixxer is also employed here.
The Hashtag also shares the chassis, wheels, suspension and braking units with the Sixty2. 41 mm, right-side-up forks and Kayaba coil-over monoshock handle the suspension. Whereas braking is taken care of 320 mm disc with a twin-pot caliper up front and 245 mm disc with a single-pot caliper in the back are sufficient, with ABS as standard. The Hashtag 400 is priced at €6990 plus on-road costs which are about $8,650. This is around $800 more than what the Sixty2 was priced at while it was sold here.
This is the Japanese Green Team’s definition of a mid-size streetfighter high in terms of practicality and usable performance. The Z650 too is basically the Ninja 650 which misses out on the front bulky looking fairing with dual headlamp setup, and in its place, comes the new small front fascia.
The aerodynamic front full fairing with dual headlamps has been replaced by a smaller and angular looking headlamp engulfed in an equally sharply designed bikini fairing. The nicely carved fuel tank has been carried away from the new Ninja 650, and so are the rear side body cowls, front and rear fenders, split pillion grab rails and LED tail lamp.
The Z650 shares its powertrain with the new Ninja 650’s four stroke, liquid cooled, fuel injected, inline twin, 649cc engine. Thanks to a new cylinder head and new intake and exhaust valves, this engine now generates a maximum power of 67 hp and a maximum torque of 49 lb-ft. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, gear ratios of which are set for an optimum balance of power for the riding conditions in both in-city roads and highways.
The Z650 gets an all-new trellis frame under the skin, 41mm telescopic forks at the front and a horizontal back link with preload adjustment at the rear, which are setup on a softer side when compared to the bigger roadsters like the Z900 and Z1000, thus making it a more comfortable and practical motorcycle to ride. The dual 300mm petal disc brakes at front and a single 220mm petal disc brake units are also borrowed from the Ninja, and they get the assistance of ABS as standard.
Priced to move, the Z650 with ABS will set you back a cool, $7,399, while the non-ABS model rolls for $400 less. It comes in Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black and Metallic Matte Covert Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black.
The naked streetfighters from Yamaha have been making a lot of noise everywhere they go. Thanks to their mad engines and stunning designs, they have been an enormous success for the Japanese Blue Team. Out of all the hyper nakeds that Yamaha sells, the MT-07 (FZ-07 before) is the most loved one of the lot. It always had a right balance of features coupled with the torquey cross-plane concept twin-cylinder engine that made it accessible to a wide range of riders that loved its multi-faceted character.
Appreciating all this love, the Japanese folks have given it a major makeover for 2018 that starts with a fresh new bodywork inspired by its elder sibling, the MT-09. The face now looks mean and bold with the serrated headlight design and the front fenders gets styling elements extenuating the sharpness.
The tank section gets new sleeker tank shrouds carrying the faux air intakes that make the previous ones look bulbous. Both the rider and pillion seats get refurbished to give more support and freedom for the rider to move, and also to look more angular to compliment the new compact taillight.
Mechanically, the MT-07 will still run on the same 698cc “Crossplane Concept” engine, a parallel-twin mill that belts out close to 74 hp and 92 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, you still don’t get a slipper clutch, a standard on other middleweight nakeds these days. But you still get plenty of BRAAP when you get twisty with the throttle.
For 2018, Yamaha has updated its suspension units with new sportier front fork settings for refined feel and adjustability and the rear gets rebound damping adjuster and revised settings. ABS now comes standard. You can get your hands on the 2018 MT-07 for $7,599 starting from March 2018. It will be available in Matte Gray, Team Yamaha Blue, Intensity White.
For a company that has been making iconic motorcycles that offer a blend of authentic design, character, charisma and performance for over two decades, Triumph can finally take pride in knowing that they have made their most exquisite, and intuitive performance street motorcycle for a long time to come now.
Designed to be an addictive and intuitive performance street motorcycle, Triumph’s attempt here is authentic. Keeping the character and the looks of the Street Triple alive, this new edition retains the overall silhouette but gets a fresh new attitude with sharper poise, contemporary and aggressive lines throughout the bodywork. More like the bike hit the gym every day to get those definitive cuts and lines.
It carries a 765cc powerplant, again derived from the brand’s Daytona 765. The thrilling new race-bred triple engine comes with three levels of power and torque figures: the ‘S’ tune gets 111 bhp, and 54 lb-ft perfect for everyday riding, the ‘R’ tune with its own crankshaft gets 116 bhp and 57 lb-ft for a full-on focused road riding. The RS variant is the most powerful one around which gets a whopping 121 bhp, and 57 lb-ft of torque making it feel closer to the liter-class counterparts, courtesy of a unique engine set-up, ECU and tune and is the most explosive Street Triple built by the British legends.
Making the bike ride like a breeze, Triumph has updated the machine to be the lightest amongst its peers in the class. Having one of the best power-to-weight ratios has its perks, and one can feel it by the easy rideability this thing has to offer to anyone throwing a leg around. Mechanically the Triple S and R is fitted with Showa units and Nissin calipers. The RS, on the other hand, gets Ohlins and Brembo units with both getting Pirelli rubber. Other rider aides include riding mode setups that are linked to the ride-by-wire setup, traction control, and ABS systems.
The Triumph Street Triple S variant is available in Diablo Red and Phantom Black (Metallic) and will fetch $9900. You will find the R with Jet Black (Gloss), Matt Aluminium Silver and Crystal White color options and will be priced at $11200. The top spec- RS variant will also be featuring the highest level of finish with Matt Silver Ice and Phantom Black (Metallic) color-coded belly pan, color-coded pillion seat cowl with interchangeable pillion seat and lower chain guard and can be yours for a cool $12500.
This is KTM’s entry to the hot naked middleweight market that has been all been currently roped up by the Street Triples and the Monsters. KTM’s new Duke 790 gets a completely new frame and styling package to kick the competition right from the bottom.
Starting with the all-LED lighting package, the Duke borrows many gizmos from its eldest sibling, the Super Duke. It gets the TFT dashboard with optional KTM MY RIDE to tether your phone with the bike, and the straight cut futuristic body panels will remind you of the Super Duke.
Adjustable handlebar and WP steering damper complete the front end. And the 2-into-1 exhaust unit is one of the best ones seen in the business put onto a production model. Bar-end mirrors and Akrapovic exhaust units with carbon-fiber ends are optional.
Powered by a new super-compact LC8c 799cc parallel-twin, first by KTM, the powerplant easily punches out 105 hp and 63.5 lb-ft of torque, enough to see it rise to the top of the charts. And at just 418 lbs wet, it sure can hoon around the streets without breaking a sweat with the best power to weight ratio in its class. The engine features a four-stroke DOHC unit with eight valves actuated via DLC-coated finger followers, electronic fuel-injection, balancer shafts, semi-dry-sump lubrication with oil cooler and a six-speed transmission.
The steel trellis frame seen on this 790 is all-new that makes use of the engine as a stressed member to save weight. 43mm split-function upside-down WP forks upfront and gas-assisted shock at the rear handle the suspension; while 300mm twin disc setup with 4 piston calipers at the front and a single 240mm disc at the rear with 2 piston caliper take onto braking.
With so much potential in this beast, you need electronic rider aids to tame it. Luckily, the Duke 790 gets cornering ABS, Supermoto mode, lean-angle sensitive traction control, quickshifter, riding modes and launch control.
Pricing and availability are TBD. But be sure of this bike making onto the shores of North America only as a 2019 model while it will be sold in European markets starting from March 2018 and is priced there at £8,499 ($11,299).
There is a thing with Ducati and its naked streetfighters. While someone will reckon Ducati for giving us some exciting and legendary faired superbikes like the 999, 1098 and Panigale, it is the range of its streetfighters which have been the easily accessible fun tools for most of the Ducati fans across the world. Which is why Ducati has refurbished its 2018 Monster 821.
Taking cues from the Monster 1200, the fuel tank has been restyled with much sharper lines, losing some of the bulges but has become even more proportionately muscular, making it look cleaner, yet captivating. At the rear, the tail section too has been restyled with the Monster 900 essence making it look short. Ducati has also made a huge difference by introducing an all-new TFT colored fully digital instrument console picked up from the Monster 1200. Ducati Multimedia System comes in as an accessory package.
The new Monster 821 pumps out similar numbers as that of the previous Monster 821, with more apparent differences to the under-the-skin mechanicals. The Monster 821 has been blessed with an 821cc Testastretta 11 degree engine, which is also present in one of its stablemates, the Hypermotard. The engine churns out 109 hp of maximum power and 63.5 lb-ft of maximum torque and is mated to the same 6-speed gearbox.
Like before, the new Monster 821 has retained the list of cutting-edge electronics, like the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP) which now incorporates Bosch 9M Cornering Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Ducati Traction Control (DTC). For 2018, the 821 gets three riding modes that ensure easy adjustment of ABS, DTC and Power Modes. In addition to these, the new Monster 821 has also been given an optional new Ducati Quick Shifter (DQS) up/down and a new IMU unit which feeds inputs to the DSP with utmost precision.
The bike gets 43mm forks at the front and an adjustable shock at the rear. Braking duties are taken care of by dual 320mm front discs and Brembo M-4.32 radial calipers just like before. The Monster 821 comes back in the historic Ducati Yellow color for $12,095 that charmed so many Monster fans in the past. This shade, available for the 821 only, completes the Red for $11,995 and assertive Matte Black color range for $12,095.
Time and again it has been proved that electric/hybrid vehicles have an overwhelming advantage especially to ride within the town and this evolution has been a gradual process for some – and an exciting start for others.
To get new riders hooked onto the electric revolution, Zero brings in the DS ZF14.4 beginner-friendly e-model for Europe. This new bike is capable of tossing the 125cc gas powered pollution making machines down the drain with a higher capacity ZF14.4 battery pack compared to the ZF7.2 that was available until now. The ZF14.4 battery pack has twice the battery capacity which translates to a claimed 163 miles of city riding or 78 miles of freeway cruising on a single charge. Of course, you can also opt for the Zero’s "Power Tank" that will take increase the total range to 203 and 97 miles respectively.
They come covered with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty and will be free of any maintenance. It can travel over 200,000 miles with the batteries retaining 80% of their original maximum capacity. They can also be charged up using any standard 110 V or 220 V wall outlets making use of the onboard charger unit.
Similar to all other Zero’s, this bike is also offered with a 6kW optional Charge Tank that gives a full charge in 2.5 hours. It will be compatible with over 14,000 Level 2 EV charging stations around the world and with the home charging stations installed at your place.
The new Zero DS ZF14.4 costs £13,690 ($18,500), or £12,190 ($16,500) with a £1,500 ($2,000) government grant for low-emission vehicles. This bike is specifically made for the European markets since Europe’s tiered licensing system restricts learners and riders under 19 years old to 125cc machines.