2020 Triumph Thruxton RS
Triumph Motorcycles took last year’s Thruxton R and levied a bevy of improvements to create the new-for-2020 Thruxton RS. The tuneup is far from just being a facelift. Power increased almost 8 horsepower on the torque-rich powerplant, the bike dropped about 13 pounds from its curb weight, and grunt comes on earlier for a broader, more useful powerband. Triumph finished it off with top-shelf safety electronics, contemporary style, and a two-tone paint package over a blackout frame and powerplant.
2020 Harley-Davidson Bronx
2020 is the year the Bar & Shield brand will be aggressively trying on new markets, and the first leg is already underway with the launch of its first electric, no-clutch “twist and go” LiveWire. As part of its “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” growth plan through 2022, this year’s EICMA witnessed Harley-Davidson unpacking their first-ever models, paving the company into the Streetfighter and the ADV category.
Rightly called the “Bronx” and the “Pan-America,” these new babies will be powered by the company’s new Revolution Max engine. Harley hasn’t divulged much information, but enough to just keep us excited through to their launch sometime towards the end of 2020. We’ve gathered them around here for a pre-production review of the Bronx. The Pan-America will follow suit.
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
KTM’s engineers punched out the 690 engine ahead of MY2016 and shortened the stroke for more power. They apparently did well enough that the “new” engine is, so far, a direct carryover all the way into MY2019. In spite of its dirtbike origins, the Duke family has abandoned all but the vestigial details in favor of a naked-sportbike build that brings top-shelf performance to the supersport size bracket. A modern electronics suite rounds out the “R” variant. The base 690 Duke comes without most of the suite in its stock configuration, but comes with said electronics as part of its optional “Track Pack” equipment package.
2019 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport
Celebrating 95 years for a company is a big thing and to have survived against all the odds was a mountainous task for Moto Guzzi. Paying tribute to this past effort of custom motorcyclists, MG headed to a major revival plan and launched the new range of V9 platform a couple of years ago that angles towards the cruiser style rather than the V7’s roadster theme.
The first offerings were in the form of the mainstream-custom “Roamer,” and the more sinister “Bobber” that was launched a couple of years ago. For 2019, the Lario eagle moniker is getting a sporty new variant of the Bobber to show its mean and racing side of its character. Called the “V9 Bobber Sport”, is has been inspired from the ‘bobbed’ flat track racers from the ‘50s America.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
With their bikes dominating the WSBK championships, we can see the direct impact of this on their street products. With the integration of technology and electronics from their motorsport experience, they have continuously pushed the limits for better handling and a thrilling ride experience along with ground-breaking technology catering to the rider’s needs.
For 2019, the ZX-10R series is receiving major updates to slay the competition. New developments in the engine architecture will take the power figures to 200 hp+ to all three models. The RR will be a limited edition affair with even more fineness inside that 998cc mill.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
When launched three years ago, the H2 was an elegant artwork of supreme violence making 207 hp, more power than any of the superbikes in competition then. Then came the rest of the chaps who caught on with the horsepower war, with the most recent Ducati V4 making 215 hp. But it looks like the Japanese Green team didn’t like losing this race yet.
So for 2019, they have bumped up their 998cc supercharged motor to produce a lathering 230 hp, and the non-street-legal H2R will be making a mind-boggling 300 hp at the crank! It will also come with a self-healing paintjob, new brake calipers, tires, TFT instrumentation and a new Bluetooth connectivity app.
2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Z 250
After making a sweet spot in the hearts of enthusiasts with its Ninja 300, Kawasaki had struck again with its yet another onslaught in the entry-level performance motoring, Z250. It was first launched in 2013 for the Asian markets post which the Japanese Green team gave the Z300 for Australia and Europe.
Designed and engineered on the lines of the bigger Z’s, the Z250 also promises to give the thrills of the Ninja in a more affordable package. After the Ninja 300, we were speculating that Kawasaki might launch its Z300 on our shores, but that seems out of the question at the moment. Nonetheless, we stay optimistic with this Z250 making rounds of eastern roads. It gets Euro IV compliant engine, new color schemes, and the much needed ABS. Good news is never too late.
2017 - 2018 Hyosung GD250R
The Korean manufacturer has been really trying hard with having a success in our market for a long time. All their success stories, if any, have been very short-lived, and with ten models in the country, none of them have a great one to share. Blame their marketing department for not creating the hype.
But without giving up on their standing chance, Hyosung has been undergoing a rescue mission and developed a new platform for their smaller capacity motorcycles. And the first iteration from them is the GD250R. It features a single-cylinder motor and is aimed at a full faired sports segment.
We all had seen the GD250R at the EICMA in Milan a couple of years back, but we couldn’t figure out why it could not generate a considerable interest back then. Then, it was on display at the Long Beach IMS, and looking at the motorcycle in its flesh, faith seems to have gotten restored.
2018 MV Agusta F3 675 RC
MV Agusta, as a brand, has mastered the fine art of making the hottest wallpaper machines unlike anyone in the business. And the cream of it belongs to the limited-production RC (Reparto Corse) editions. They are a legitimate celebration of MV Agusta’s superior qualities created by the honchos at the racing department, Jules Cluzel and Lorenzo Zanetti.
This year, the factory racers have touched on the hottest performing middleweight sportbikes in production, the F3 675, which also receives mild updates with its powertrain, electronics, and chassis to keep their mark on the ever-improving sportsbike market.
2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE
The world of motorcycles is looking at a future where the air is going to help them win races on the track and off it. Aprilia just gave us the world’s first production superbike with aerodynamic winglets. Underpinned by the legendary RSV4 architecture, the new machine will be a limited edition affair of just 125 units, and all of them are heading to North America.
Called as the Aprilia RSV4 RF LE (RF Limited Edition), the carbon fiber winglets on this will change the way future superbikes will look like. It was launched at the GP of Americas in Austin, Texas a couple of months back, and is here to serve a purpose in its life – help Aprilia get on with the new regulations in the WSBK championships.
2018 Ducati Panigale 959 Corse
Launched back in 2016 as a replacement model of the Euro-III 899 Panigale, the Euro-IV compliant 959 Panigale became the most affordable superbike in the international lineup of Ducati until the brand launched the 939 Supersport last year. It came with a longer stroked 955cc engine, a tweaked chassis and styling, new side-mount exhausts and a weight increase.
With high spec Brembos’, Showas’, a quickshifter, traction control and ABS, the standard 959 was running great. But the folks at the Italian company had a greater vision. For 2018, the 959 just got checked by the folks who run the team’s MotoGP stunts. Better equipped and a fresh new paint job that was seen similarly with the 848 EVO Corse edition in 2013.
2018 BMW R nineT Racer
BMW Motorrad must have said that they are done with the R nine T family and are moving out of the heritage scene, but it cannot stop people from wanting more out of it. The R nine T has absolutely been a hit story for the German ever since the launch in 2013. It was so good that BMW initially struggled to keep up with the demand and they released one version after the other in succession to the world stage that includes the Pure (roadster), Scrambler and the Urban G/S.
But nothing looked and felt as retro as the R nine T Racer which embodies classic 1970s’ café-racer cues taking us back in time with modern design bits and sophisticated packaging. Released first in 2016, the Racer gave us a chance to relive the era of legendary superbikes, and it does that even today albeit with a modern 1170 cc mil and up-spec chassis elements.
2018 MV Agusta Brutale Dragster 800 RR
The trimmed down streetfighter from MV Agusta was first showcased at the 2013 EICMA which were originally based out of the Brutale 800, to begin with. Out of which came the Dragster 800 RR, a stunning piece of entry by the house of Varese for an audience who desire the best of both worlds. Beauty and performance.
Like the updated F3 Reparto Corse line-up for 2018, the Dragster 800 RR also receives a slew of updates for 2018 that include engine, chassis and electronic improvements along with new styling elements to keep things fresh.
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1M
Touted as the sharpest and most track-focused supersport bikes you could get your hands on, Yamaha has updated their mad YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M superbikes with recalibrated equipment and a couple of new features, keeping the competition alive and well.
Taking one step closer to the true-blue racing pedigree of the M1, the 2018 R1 series will enhance rider experience by improving suspension, shifting and fuelling to be the "most sought-after supersport motorcycles designed to deliver the pinnacle of performance on and off the track".
2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE
With their bikes dominating the WSBK championships, we can see the direct impact of this on Kawasaki’s street products. With the integration of technology and electronics from their motorsport experience, they have continuously pushed the limits for better handling and a thrilling ride experience along with ground-breaking technology catering to the rider’s needs.
One such addition is the semi-active suspension unit that the folks from Kawasaki have equipped their new 2018 ZX-10R variant. Suffixed as ’SE’, the bike sits right in the middle of the ’R’ and the ’RR’, and is ready to slay the competition as one of the one of the most user-friendly and equally precise-to-use supersport in the world.
2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR LH44
Apart from everything they make, MV also makes special superbikes for a few esteemed celebrities in the world, and one of them is the three-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. The Brit has also been responsible for a limited edition Dragster model that MV created for just 244 blokes out there, and all of them got sold out within a few hours of launch: the Dragster RR LH44. Then came 44 units of the MV Agusta F4 LH44 based on the Italian brand’s top-of-the-line trim of its four-cylinder superbike, the MV Agusta F4 RC.
Now, the same team has met again to collaborate with another limited edition model based on their famous Brutale 800 RR. Called as the MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR LH44, it gets similar detailing on the bike styled by Lewis Hamilton himself and will be produced in a limited series of only 144 units.
2018 Benelli Tornado 302R
Benelli must have lost its old world charm of making machines pecked with impeccable high cap mills and is finding it difficult to proclaim its identity amidst the modern and competitive world, even more after a Chinese firm acquired it. But now, it seems like a thing of the past, more of a ‘myth’ one could say. Benelli has started showcasing us products designed by CentroStile Benelli, and slowly their reputation seems to have gotten back to its original charm albeit with entry-level machines.
The Italian marquee Benelli, which after raking in some interesting numbers with its range of naked streetfighters, has now come up with its first fully faired motorcycle in the entry-level segment, the 302R. With what is supposed to just be a ’fairing slapped on’ issue with the naked TNT 300, the 302R promises more than that.
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe
Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. With almost every brand entering the neo-classic craze, Kawasaki brought one of its own classics back. Although it has the W800, the Z900RS depicts a much more modern take with thoroughly done modish mechanical features, fit and finish.
Now, the same guys have gone ahead and given it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.
Unwrapped at the 2017 EICMA show, the wardrobe change has made the standard RS the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe. And Kawasaki has decided that we deserve to drive them on our roads and are bringing it to the North American showroom floors as the 2018 model.
2018 Ducati 939 SuperSport
Ducati always has had this insanity in them to time and again bring up machines that push the boundaries of two-wheeled glory, a boundary that will make every other manufacturer look like a speck of dust. For this alone, we must hand it to the Italian with all pomp and flair that they can literally pull off a true bloody special edition.
When it comes to sports bikes with full fairings, there are not many chaps in the world who make them better than these Italians. The Panigale, for instance, is the most coveted superbike for the way it looks, handles and rides. It is one of those Italian Exotics that can sweep you off your feet every time you get yourself near it. And if you do ride one, you know what a fearless machine it is, always wanting to break your spine due to the insanity, unless you tame it.
The current generations of Panigale is a bit intimidating and out-of-reach for a majority of buyers, due to its big and powerful engine and large denominations, in particular for riders who are new to the big bike world. It seems that Ducati has understood this fact, which is why it has come up with the all-new Supersport series, the re-entry of the brand into the family of Ducati. It takes in the 937 Testastretta motor and gets bolted on a relaxed sports bike trellis frame and gets the power lower in the rev range.
2018 Triumph Speed Triple
Finally, the big boy has arrived. For 2018, the legendary British manufacturer is spinning a new edition of their iconic Speed Triple motorcycle that has had its glory days starting way back with the ’94 Speed Triple T309. The original ‘factory streetfighter’.
Like old wine in a new bottle, the new Speed Triple is a 24-year-old model. It has already been updated half a dozen times with the last one being in 2016. But with the competition spearing ahead, Triumph decided to refresh the Speed Triple with a few of its latest gimmicks and is giving us their sophisticated hooligans, the ‘2018 Speed Triple S & RS’.
Unveiled at the exclusive factory launch yesterday, the new Speed Triple S & RS are the most powerful, smartest and best-handling Speed Triples... ever.
TVS Apache RR 310
TVS Motor Company is the third largest two-wheeler manufacturer in India, and the Apache has been the company’s flagship brand since its launch in 2006. The nameplate, which started with the unveiling of a 150cc motorcycle, has spawned into a variety of streetfighters, which somewhat have managed to create new benchmarks when it comes to delivering raw power in a relatively affordable package.
Now, a brand new fully-faired 310 cc sports bike has arrived for the big party and will replace the flagship Apache RTR200 4V. It’s called the Apache RR 310 and has been co-developed with BMW Motorrad.
Based on the G310 platform, the Apache RR 310 carries over the powertrain, suspension unit, chassis, brakes, radials and the exhaust from the entry-level naked German. Wearing a full fairing silhouette, first ever at TVS, it might as well make it off as the next BMW G310 RR.
Expect BMW to get it to our shores since TVS has no plans to cater other than the huge Indian market for now.
2015 - 2017 Ducati Monster 821
What does you do when you have a powerful and popular naked sportbike such as the Monster 1200 and a smaller, simplified version of same with an 803 cc powerplant? You simply add a third model, according to Ducati. Introducing the stop-gap Monster 821 siblings. The base model carries many of the genetic markers associated with the Monster range with a 112-horsepower engine and host of electronic gadgets that never made it onto the entry-level 797 model. This plugs a significant gap in its naked Monster lineup and gives us an entry-friendly model with a taste of the refinement typically enjoyed on the larger-displacement rides. Ducati followed up with the race-tastic “Stripe” version that pulls adjustable front-suspension components off the top shelf for another layer of ride-quality control. Something for everyone? Perhaps not, but a damn good compromise between the existing models within the range in many ways.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Monster 821.