2016 - 2019 BMW S 1000 XR
BMW put together the S 1000 XR for the adventuresome sort that prefers to stay on at least moderately civilized routes. Built on the proven S 1000 literbike platform, the XR really puts the “sport” in adventure-sport with a solid, 999 cc powerplant and a claimed top speed that lands upwards of the 125 mph mark. The XR also maintains a sportbike-like panache in spite of its adventuresome qualities, thus avoiding the blunt pragmatism associated with so many adv bikes. Of course, Beemer is a firm believer in better living through technology, and it includes a host of safety gadgets meant to help you keep it dirrty-side-down. Sound good yet? Let’s dig in and see what else the Bayerische has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 XR.
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.
2019 Yamaha Niken
Yamaha looks to redefine what we think of when we hear the word “trike” with the all-new Niken (literally: two sword) that brings the leaning trike concept into the realm of full-size bikes. Based on the popular FZ/MT-09, the Niken LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) doubles the size (and number) of the front contact patch(es) for greater safety and traction with the proven 847 cc Crossplane Concept engine to drive the thing. With over 100 ponies on tap and its fancy front end with gobs of traction, the Niken seems set to deliver a ride that is limited only by your own skills and testicular fortitude.
Continue reading for my first look at the Yamaha Niken.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha YZF-R3
The Tuning Fork Company makes a solid effort for a slice of the entry-level sportbike market with its YZF-R3. Yamaha had its work cut out for it ’cause this all-important market is hotly contested by nearly every other streetbike manufacturer in the world and the pressure is on to get brand-loyalty instilled in the incoming riders. Engine displacement breaks the 300 cc mark with 40-plus horsepower and 20-plus pounds of torque, and at only 368 pounds wet, this is plenty of power for some cheap thrills on the road. The rest of the bike seems well put together at a glance, but today I am going to dig into the guts of the thing and see what all Yamaha has in store for us and how well it stacks up against similar models on the market right now.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.
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 KTM 790 Duke
KTM launches a fresh assault, this time on the mid-displacement, naked-bike market with the 2018 790 Duke, first of its name. The Austrian bike builders have 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.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 790 Duke.
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 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 Suzuki GSX-S125
While most eyes are on the battle for supremacy of the upper-displacement brackets, the fight between the flyweights rages on, and Suzuki’s newest weapon is its GSX-S125. Like the rest of the “Gixxess” family, it comes based on the “R” version but is stripped of its body panels to become a proper naked sportbike. The 124 cc powerplant stays within the A1 licensing envelope with 10.8 kW to serve as a true entry-level bike cum indoctrination piece capable of drawing in the very youngest riders, and that’s exactly how it’s set up; to be as rider-friendly as possible with a low curb weight of 133 kg and manageable, 785 mm seat height. Today I’m going to dig in a little deeper to see what all Suzuki has going on with this decidedly important little ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-S125.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
Riding the tailwinds of waxing public interest and expanding infrastructure, Zero Motorcycles advanced ’The Cause’ with new improvements and adjustments to its street-centric “S” and “SR” models last year. Part of that was the addition of a more powerful motor that generates increased torque and horsepower as well as a smaller battery pack for short urban trips; all good stuff for increased fun and flexibility, necessary factors if the company wants to further its push into the mainstream. For 2018, Zero adds more range and quicker charging times.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero S and SR.