2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
“Cheap thrills” takes on a whole new meaning — or maybe just a revitalization of the old meaning — when it comes to the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki. It’s small and relatively fast for the thrills, good fuel economy, and a bargain-basement price. Sure, as a fun bike, it has that hands down. It’s also a commuter if you have to navigate congested thoroughfares because it’s small, lightweight, and narrow so filtering through traffic is a breeze. As a first bike for someone new to two wheels, this is a completely approachable bike, not intimidating at all and without the electronics that frequently get used as a crutch. On this bike, you learn how to ride.
2017 - 2020 Honda Grom
Introduced in 2014, the Grom from Honda is a compact bike with sportbike styling, two-up capabilities if you don’t mind having to Fred-Flintstone the take-off, has amazing fuel economy, and offers a little something more for folks who might consider a scooter in this size-range. Marketed in other countries as the MSX125, the Motrac M3, and the Skyteam M3, the Grom is a spunky little — “little” being the operative word here — motorcycle, good for folks new to two wheels or for anyone else who wants a fun ride. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point.
2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range in 2017. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line features water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T
Suzuki unveiled the Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50T carry straight through into 2020 with a mid-displacement engine to serve as Suzuki’s mid-size cruiser and weekend tour bike. Smooth acceleration and comfortable seating combine with laced wheels and classic styling to keep the C50s on the list of middleweight contenders in the two-wheeled market.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Introduced as the bad-ass brother of Suzuki’s M109R, the Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. carries forward into MY20 with its 109 cubic inch (1,783 cc) engine. Yeah, B.O.S.S. stands for ’Blacked Out Special Suzuki’, but I’m gonna call it ’Blacked Out Super Sweet’. It might not be the fastest cruiser on the market, but it is definitely a power-cruiser and it really wants to go when you let out the clutch.
2015 - 2020 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2020 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.
2020 Indian Scout 100th Anniversary Edition
The first Indian Scout model first saw showrooms in 1920, so that means the model-name hits that incredible 100-year mark in just a few months. The 2020 Scout 100th Anniversary Edition is built as a tribute to that era on the thoroughly modern new Scout platform. Classic touches and design high points combine with the new Scout platform to deliver a potent dose of nostalgia along with 21st century performance.
TopSpeed 2019 Norton Buying Guide
Norton Motorcycles is, undeniably, one of the British Greats. It made a mark for itself early on with success in both the racing and streetbike/commuter sectors, and it continues to do so to this day. The factory splits is efforts fairly evenly between its superbikes, Brit-style standards and café racers with a couple of scrambler-esque models to expand its footprint off the black and onto the brown. English charm and deep historical roots are the hallmarks of the brand and the main reasons for its continued success.
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650
Kawasaki gave its Ninja 650 supersport a facelift ahead of MY2020 with aggressive new lines. Safety and visibility were increased through LED technology, and instrumentation moves into the 21st century with a TFT display to deliver the metrics. New tires and new networking technology round out the package along with engine performance and handling that made the last generation a hit.
2020 Indian Chieftain
Indian Motorcycle brushed up its Chieftain line for 2020 with a lean, slammed look, and a choice between its proven Thunder Stroke 111 and the new, more powerful Thunder Stroke 116. As always, the Chieftain brings classic bagger style to the table, and of course, Indian’s top-shelf infotainment system comes stock to keep it competitive against the other top baggers around the world. No matter which engine you choose, you can count on 100-plus pounds of grunt that make the Chieftains perform as well as they look.
2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES
Honda expands its 2020 Africa Twin lineup with the addition of the CRF1100L “Adventure Sports ES” model that turns an already capable dual-surface machine into a terrain-gobbling off-road tour de force. A larger, more powerful engine and lower overall weight boosts performance, and handling is improved, as well, through the electronically adjusted suspension system. Also boosted, fuel-tank capacity is increased to extend the range and make the “ES” even more suitable for work as a bona fide globetrotter.
How Does The Domestic Electric Motorcycle Field Stack Up?
No doubt about it, EV technology is coming on in leaps and bounds across the board, and the motorcycle field is no exception. There are a few domestic marques working on electric bikes at the moment such as the electro-centric Zero Motorcycles and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the former of which makes nothing but EV bikes and the latter offers only a single entry with its new LiveWire. There’s a third option in the lees with the Brammo-based Empulse model that was just starting to make a name for itself when its carrier, Victory Motorcycles, went tits up. That machine still falls under the Polaris umbrella along with Indian Motorcycle and we expect to see it again sooner rather than later, but we aren’t there just yet so let’s focus on what is actually ready to hit the road as of this writing.