2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
Kawasaki beefs up its street-legal racebike game for MY2019 with the improved Ninja ZX-10RR superbike. This hotly-contested sector caters directly to the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, and should be considered a continuation of the closed-circuit competition between the pros, just in a different venue. A new engine drives the windtunnel-tested chassis with a number of internal improvements along with a handful of suspension tweaks to handle all that extra power. Best of all, it comes with the necessary gear to make it street legal but can be quickly stripped for track days.
2018 - 2019 Aprilia RSV4 RR
The “RR” version of Aprilia’s race-tastic 2019 RSV4 superbike is something of a dual-purpose ride. The "RR" is essentially a racebike made street-legal that can easily be set up for trackday through the use of the optional Track Kit. The liter-sized mill cranks out over 200 horsepower, and the “RR” comes with an electronics suite packed with top-shelf ride-quality gadgets to help you keep it rubber-side down.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R
Many of the major players offer a pure-D racetrack hypersport for the public’s consumption, and for Kawasaki, that honor falls to the freshly updated Ninja H2 R. The H2 R brings the best Kawi has to offer to the table along with top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine on top of a full electronics suite to make itself a threat on the track right out of the box. That’s about the only place it’s a threat though, since the H2 R is far too awesome to be street legal, and as a track-only bike, it wastes not an ounce on any silly old mirrors, headlights or turn signals. Carbon-fiber components complete the package with their own brand of lightweight strength.
2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
KTM updated its 1290 Super Duke R ahead of MY2017, and that revised model carries over into MY2019 with a minor change in graphics, but little else. The factory tweaked some hardware on the 1,301 cc V-twin powerplant and increased compression for greater output than the outgoing version. Suspension also was buffed to deliver a stiffer ride with the full spectrum of adjustments so you can dial in just what you want as far as preload and damping values are concerned. The base model comes sans electronics for the most part, but the factory offers dealer-installed packages that address the lack of stock fandanglery and round out the electronics, plus there’s some race-related gadgetry to boot so there’s something for everyone on the new Super Duke R.
2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701
Husqvarna expanded its streetbike lineup ahead of MY2019 with the new, flat track inspired Svartpilen 701. The Svartpilen – literally Black Arrow in Swedish – carries the relatively new family of naked bikes into streetfighter territory with a race-tastic chassis and the largest engine currently offered by the streetbike division. Thoroughly modern, the Svartpilen comes loaded with all sorts of top-shelf safety and ride-quality tweaks to deliver the stability and peace of mind that is becoming more ubiquitous, and expected, almost daily.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide
Harley-Davidson introduced the Sport Glide last year, an all-new Softail model that borrowed from the past while looking to the future. The detachable panniers and mini-fairing give it some (very) light touring capabilities, but it’s the 108 pounds of grunt from the Milwaukee-Eight engine that reveals its true nature as a power cruiser.
2015 - 2019 Honda CBR300R
Honda shows us that big isn’t always better with its CBR300R. As the small-displacement sportbike bracket fills in from every quarter, the CBR300R with its 286 cc engine has the aggressive look and feel of the bigger bikes – like a Fireblade you left in the dryer too long — but in a commuter-friendly version that could be a stepping stone on your way up the displacement ladder.
2017 - 2019 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
A 1200 cc plant pushes the classic-looking frame on the new-from-2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber. Much like Harley-Davidson’s Softail, it comes built to look like an old hard-tail. The result is a modern ride with very deep roots traceable back to the Speed Twin 5T of the late ’30s. There are plenty of other little historical touches here and there, and though this is no replica piece, it can serve as a sort of rolling museum.
2018 - 2019 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401
Husqvarna is known for a lot of things — dirtbikes, chainsaws and such — but the marque wants to add “entry-level streetbikes” to the list with the Vitpilen 401. The so-called ’White Arrow’ brings a unique interpretation of the classic café racer look to the table in an effort to draw in the newest generation of riders without actually being a café at all; more of a roadster, really. A 375 cc thumper packs 43 ponies with a user-friendly delivery that should fit well and feel fairly non-threatening to the apparently bike-shy Millennials with a catalyst in the exhaust to make the bike meet the emissions expectations of same. Exciting, fresh and new, the Vitpilen range (and its sibling the Svartpilen) looks to be coming out of the hole strong in an otherwise sluggish market, evidenced by the fact that they were already oversold in the U.S. market last year before they even hit our shores.
2018 - 2019 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
The Vitpilen 701 joined its diminutive 401 sibling to double the number of Black Arrows on offer last year from Husqvarna. Like its little brother, the 701 packs all of its cubage into a single cylinder to the tune of 692.7 cc with a respectable 75 horsepower on tap and ready to go. Contemporary style and a race-tastic vibe give the 701 even more of what makes the 401 so popular, and it’s clearly targeting mature/experienced buyers while simultaneously trying to appeal to the Millennial buyers who, thus far, have largely shunned the two-wheeled lifestyle but seem to be crazy about the ’Pilen range.
2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000FZ
Suzuki’s GSX-S family has always been about bringing sportbike performance to the commuter and touring market, and the 2019 GSX-S1000FZ looks to be Suzuki’s new flagship model in that particular stable. The “FZ” combines the beating heart from a Gixxer with top-end suspension and brakes in a slightly more relaxed package to put the “sport” back in sport-tourer. Suzuki finishes up with the two most common ride-quality/safety subsystems – TC and ABS – to make the FZ competitive on the world stage all the way around.
2017 - 2019 Ducati Monster 1200 R
All the major sportbike players have an entry in the street-legal, racebike subgenre, and for Ducati, that distinction falls to the Monster 1200 R. The “R” brings liter-plus power to the table in combination with top-shelf suspension and ride-quality electronics that let you dial it right in, and of course, the Monster DNA is plain to see in the sparse sheet metal and exposed frame members. This machine is the ultimate iteration (so far) of an already aggressive family line with all the sex appeal you’d expect from this marque.