Naked Motorcycle reviews

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2019 - 2020 Honda CB650R

2019 - 2020 Honda CB650R

The new neo-sport café adds its retro-tastic flare to the middleweight field

After a race to the upper displacement range and a subsequent search for the bottom usable cubage, Honda revisited its midrange and spruced up its CB650R ahead of the 2019 model year. That’s right sports fans; the Neo Sport Café concept has gone to production under this new moniker, and it rolled into MY19 with a handful of tweaks that brushed up the looks and carve off a little fat. The powerplant also took a beating from the buffhammer to turn out a 5-percent increase in power with changes to improve rideability and safety.

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2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke

2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke

It has a smooth engine, plush suspension, and electronics you just don’t see at this price point

The value of indoctrination is not lost on KTM, evidenced by the fact that they updated and generally spruced up their entry-level unit, the 390 Duke in 2017, and those improvements carry straight over into the 2020 season. New upside-down stems float the front end along with larger, more powerful brakes to help manage the energy from the 44-horsepower engine and 328-pound dry weight. Ride-by-wire makes an appearance for a bit of tech you normally don’t see at this price point. Add to this a fresh new look and you have a recipe for success.

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2017 - 2020 KTM 125 Duke

2017 - 2020 KTM 125 Duke

The small-displacement ride with a big-bike attitude

The battle of the flyweights rages on as KTM stays in the fray with its race-tastic 125 Duke. KTM takes much the same tack as the competition and builds its entry-level ride to resemble the machines it has to offer further up the licensing chain. The angular Duke bodywork and exposed Trellis frame set the stage for the key player, the 11 kW powerplant that keeps the 125 Duke within the A1 performance envelope and turns it into a weapon in the fight for the zenith of the nadir, ie, the entry-level masses yearning to breathe free. KTM has established quite a name for itself as the King of Thumpers with a proven off-road record, but today I’m going to take a look and see how the littlest Duke stacks up against the rest of the 125 cc streetbike field.

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2018 - 2020 KTM 790 Duke

2018 - 2020 KTM 790 Duke

KTM’s first parallel twin: race-ready and rearing to go

KTM launched a fresh assault on the mid-displacement, naked-bike market with the 2018 790 Duke, first of its name. The Austrian bike builders nicknamed it “The Scalpel” for its precise control over power delivery and lean angle with a race-tastic chassis and new, 100-plus horsepower mill. A robust electronics suite brings an alphabet soup of goodies to the table, and ABS, traction control, and variable power-delivery ride modes are just a few of the features on the menu. Even with the dearth of body panels, it’s easy to see the Duke DNA in the details that leave no doubts about its heritage. A bold move in such a competitive market, so let’s see what else KTM throws in to sweeten the deal and be competitive in a crowded field.

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2020 KTM 890 Duke R

2020 KTM 890 Duke R

KTM unleashes its "Super Scapel" on North America

KTM added to its mid-range naked-sportbike bracket with the 890 Duke R, now available in North America. Essentially, the factory took its proven 790 Duke and buffed it with fully-adjustable suspension, racier ergos, and better anchors. An all-new powerplant gives a boost in power and torque along with a handful of rider aids to add an element of control over the ride characteristics.

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2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R

2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R

It’s really more of a ’sport-roadster’ than a cafè racer

Honda expanded its Neo-Sports Café lineup with the new-in-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same café-tastic vibe as with the CB1000R, just in an entry level-size package. This naked little pocket crotch-rocket — or “Sport Naked” as the factory has dubbed the style — looks to pull in younger riders with a user-friendly, 286 cc powerplant and lightweight design. After a race to the bottom of the usable displacement range for the sport and naked genres, Honda is refining its bottom-tier rides.

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2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR

2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR

This is what 208 horsepower looks like in a sexy package

Italian heavy MV Agusta fills out its hyper-naked range with its drag-tastic, new-for-2020 Brutale 1000RR. This new liter-sized Brutale follows the design characteristics established by its predecessors, and is absolutely saturated with performance-enhancing features and top-shelf electronics to make it a threat on both street and strip. Windtunnel-tested bodywork finishes the package in style and contributes to its overall speed and stability to show a synergy in the design that is somewhat rare for a street-legal machine.

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2017 - 2020 Suzuki SV650

2017 - 2020 Suzuki SV650

It’s the new look of the UJM standard

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.

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2018 - 2020 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS

2018 - 2020 Triumph Speed Triple S / RS

It Has More Power, More Poise, And More Control

Triumph refurbished its Speed Triple family ahead of MY2018, and the British giant carries its new-in-’18 Speed Triple S and Speed Triple RS straight over into the 2020 lineup. These two rides epitomize the “performance naked” subgenre with a stripped-down look. They come with an updated powerplant alongside a robust electronics suite on the base model that gets even better on the “RS” variant. Power, poise and control, the new Speed Triples seem to have it all.

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2019 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821 Stealth

2019 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821 Stealth

It’s a highly functional tribute to the ’93 Monster 900

The Ducati Monster can trace its heritage back to the ’93 Monster 900, and the new “Stealth” variant serves as what you might call a highly-functional tribute piece for that venerated machine. It totes the usual suite of electronic gadgets with Ducati’s Quick Shift feature added to the stock package, and it boasts 100-plus horsepower in a design that is, paradoxically, both sexy and stocky at the same time.

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2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS

2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS

Kawasaki’s hot contender in the middleweight streetfighter market

Kawasaki makes inroads into the naked streetfighter market with the new-in 2017 Z650 and adds some brush-up changes for 2020. Drawing from the popular Ninja line, the factory gave the Z650 that 649 cc parallel twin and put it in a new, lighter weight frame for improved handling and a exponentially greater fun factor.

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2020 MV Agusta Rush 1000

2020 MV Agusta Rush 1000

Meant to dominate the drag strip, the Rush has a “take no prisoners” attitude

MV Agusta built the Rush 1000 with a single purpose in mind: drag strip domination. The factory took its 200-plus horsepower Brutale engine and mounted it in a bike that, in true dragster tradition, carries only what is needed to function. No weight is wasted on superfluous equipment or body panels to convert as many of those ponies as possible into brute acceleration. Those weight-savings measures extend to the engine and include the use of titanium to reduce the reciprocating mass of the mill and deliver faster revs. The electronics suite is all about that drag-tastic life to deliver the safety and control you’ll need to manage the power and keep the thing rubber-side down.

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