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.