2018 is here. And these top dogs are heading our way
Ten of the 2018’s hottest bikes coming to change the way we rideby Sagar Patil, on
Aspirin taken, ate some food, drank that much-needed water and took a hot shower. Hangover time is over and getting my head around the fact that I have to wake up early to work depressed me at first. But luckily the excitement brought with the launch of these new machines means we and I get to see them on our roads pretty soon, and I cannot wait to unveil the secrets they behold.
Unveiled at the back end of 2017, these hot machines give new life goals and expectations, not just for riders, but also to other manufacturers giving them no option but to up their game as well. Thanks to this, competition keeps getting hotter by the day, and we are ultimately rewarded with machines that beam innovation and technology.
Here are the top picks that are touted to take the market by storm in 2018:
1. Hercules by Curtiss Motorcycle Co
Partnering with Zero Motorcycles, Curtiss will develop high powered electric motorcycles, starting from the Hercules cruiser that is set to launch on 5th May 2018. It will feature a twin-motor arrangement and a modular built chassis that will streamline production costs.
Confederate Motors changed to “Curtiss Motorcycle Co.” with effect from January 2018. The name change is due to the business impact of association with the US Confederacy. But will still cater to the uber-rich class of customers.
The Hercules will also get an all-new state-of-the-art suspension arrangement and better safety package to keep you from making a mess out there.
2. Honda Goldwing
This Japanese tourer is one of the most prominent motorcycles for the Western market that has been resurrected with features that is already blowing the competition away. It’s lighter, faster and dripping with every acronym-souped technology you can think of.
Designed from the ground up, this model packs in all the bells and whistles you can fathom including the electronic suspension and the new 124 hp engine that performs like a well-built athlete compared to the previous generation Gold Wing, making all that past feel old and outdated.
The futuristic design elements like the 7” full-color TFT, keyless fob, LED lights all-around and aggressive bodywork takes rider satisfaction to newer levels. Combining it with electronic wizardry, the DCT and the intelligent suspension system that features a semi-active unit, Honda has literally gone above and beyond with the new Gold Wing.
3. MTT 420RR (Race Ready)
Coming from the chaps that made the crazy big Y2K is this creation that is said to surpass even the Y2K’s performance and clitter clatter. This massive Turbine hyperbike will churn out a colossal 420 hp and 500 ft/lbs.
It’ll use a Rolls-Royce 250 C-20B gas turbine engine and a proprietary two-speed automatic transmission connected to the rear 200 section wheel. The whole shebang is controlled by MTT’s engine management system that monitors the power source and the fuelling systems. It runs on kerosene but has been adapted to run on diesel or Jet A1 fuel as well.
The 420RR will have redesigned fairings, aluminum tubular construction, TFT instrumentation, steering dampers, advance Öhlins suspension, carbon wheels and a whole lot of more bells and whistles. It will also feature saucepan-size discs front and rear and a bunch of electronic rider aids to help the rider from succumbing to the bike’s calling.
4. Yamaha Niken
This 2018 Niken is crazy, even by Yamaha standards. There is no denying in that. But it sure does look bonkers enough to feature in the next ’Transformers’ setting. This is a Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW) is based on the hugely popular MT-09 platform that gets double the grip on the front and heightened ride stability for carving corners with minimal effort.
Thanks to the four upside-down forks, two on each side, the rider has an entirely different riding perspective compared to the two-wheeled motorcycles. A greater front grip and better confidence to take the winding roads with maximum stability intact.
Apart from the obvious leaning two wheels up-front, you get quad-LED projector beam arrangement, headlight cowl and that mean looking front suspension unit. The rest of the machine will be a refreshed derivative of the brand’s MT-09 including the motor, fuel tank, seats, tail, exhaust and rear suspension setup.
5. Ducati Panigale V4
Launching this paradigm-shifting model, the Italian two-wheel manufacturer moved focus from an L-twin to a V4 engine construction, similar to the one running on their Desmosedici GP bike. With 214 hp and 91.5 lb-ft of torque, this will be the most powerful bike in its class.
Ducati calls it the ‘new symphony of all Italian performance and emotion.’ The V4 tips the scale at just 430 lbs (17 lbs more than the 1299 Panigale). This puts the power to weight ratio at 1:1, and this is going to make the V4 trump everyone in the segment.
It has Bosch 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (6D IMU) and a bunch of other latest-generation electronics packages with some previously unseen features like the controlled drift during braking and ABS Cornering on the front wheel. New 5" full-TFT dashboard, Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF), Sachs steering damper and shock, and lightweight Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers adorn the V4.
The V4 Panigale also comes in two special editions: The Panigale V4 S and the Panigale V4 Speciale. Each getting their own special treatment of a long list of equipment and electronic packages. The "Speciale" is a limited to just 1500 units.
6. Honda 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. Running on the Fireblade’s powerplant, it is easily one of the best looking motorcycle from the Japanese Red Wing.
The “RR” stigma has been replaced with retro-industrial minimalism, yes for sure, but is no way a slouch performer. The CB1000R gets a detuned version of the same 998cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline four and puts out 143 hp and 77 lb-ft of torque. Electronics, suspension and braking units have also been carried over from the Fireblade.
Honda will also be revealing a CB1000R+ model with quick-shifter, flyscreen, heated grips and other bits as standard. “It’s a motorcycle that looks, feels and performs very differently from what’s gone before.”
7. Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX
This is the Japanese Green outfit’s third supercharged monster. While we were still drooling over the radical H2 and H2R that can put any super sports to shame, Kawasaki decided to expand the overcharged family and give the same gut-wrenching soul to a biblical tourer.
On the outside, it gets wider body panels, bigger screen, 5-gallon fuel tank, plush two-up saddle and revised rear frame to accommodate a passenger and the side panniers. Internally though, it is powered by the same 998cc mill that runs on the other two H2s’ but is now a ’second generation balanced supercharged engine.
Mechanically and electronically, the SX will get similar top-of-the-line equipment like the H2 and H2R but will be tweaked to be softer and comfortable for long expanses. The riding stance will also be directed towards the sport touring market rather than the apex hunter.
The SX will come in another variant called the Ninja H2 SX SE which is the pampered one of the two. The SE model comes equipped with a color TFT instrumentation, cornering lights, up/down quick-shifter, Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), large screen, heated grips, and a fancy-pants paint scheme.
8. Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
This Vitplilen 701 will be the first of the Husqvarna’s ‘Real Street’ motorcycle lineup that is headed to bring in the Swedish company’s name into the world stage followed by the Vitpilen 401, Swartipilen 401 and Swartipilen 701.
Designed to strike, this machine has pure and progressive styling cues from the future. It gets sleek and aggressive bodywork forming clean lines and carries a unique single element body panel. The internal organs and the bone structure of this bike remain similar to the KTM Duke 690 including the engine, trellis frame, complete with the alloy swing arm, WP inverted telescopic front forks, and Brembo braking systems.
The 693cc single puts out 74 horses and 53 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the 370 lbs wet bike to the stratosphere. Throttle by wire, switchable two-channel ABS and slipper clutch gets borrowed from the brand’s famous enduro models.
9. KTM Duke 790
Nicknamed ’The Scalpel’, it’s a brutal twin-cylinder fury from the Austrian chaps. 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.
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.
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.
10. Norton 650 Urban-tracker
After getting a tremendous response to their new V4 superbike, the British company is now heading to add two models in the scrambler series that will run on their new in-house 650cc parallel-twin powerplant.
The idea here is to make a bike that you can ride around all day on the road and in the muck bashing it all around, and if you happen to drop it, you should still be able to just pick it up and continue riding around. Basically, Norton wants to make a practical bike that is all about function and a "proper scrambler".
The engine architecture is borrowed from the V4’s and will have a 270-degree crank to give it nice drive characteristics and a good throbbing exhaust note. The chassis and the riding geometry is designed in-house.