2020 Kawasaki Z900
Kawasaki beefed up its naked Z900 with even more under-the-hood updates for 2020 and an all-new look created by a wild new color combination. It may look a lot like the previous generation, but this model saw a ground-up rebuild that touched on just about everything but the engine with refinements across the board. While the 948 cc engine reprises its role as the beating heart of this machine, it also benefits from new electronic features in a bid to garner an advantage in the hotly-contested, sub-liter naked bracket.
2020 Energica Eva Ribelle
Italian EV bike builder Energica rolls into the 2020 model year with something a little different; the new Eva Ribelle. This newest offering rocks a naked-sportbike look in a bid to expand its footprint while it acts as an ambassador for the electric sector in general – a genre that’s still scrabbling for mainstream acceptance. The Eva Ribelle relies on a new 21.5 kWh powerpack to deliver an impressive range, and it comes complete with a full ride-quality electronics suite and surprisingly fast recharge capacity along with safety equipment that should make it competitive against the current smoker bikes.
2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z650 ABS
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.
2018 - 2019 Suzuki GSX-S1000
Engine upgrades joined other improvements in the 2018 model year as Suzuki pushes to keep its sport-standard-sector momentum going with the GSX-S1000. The family tree branched yet again with the new-in-2018, blackout GSX-S1000Z and Suzuki dropped the “F” in favor of the “FZ” for last year. The family now has even more of what it takes to dominate the street with a Gixxer engine in a naked bike chassis.
2020 Ducati Panigale V2
Ducati heads into MY2020 with a revamped, low-displacement Panigale that the factory rebranded from the Panigale 959 to the Panigale V2. It’s a mixture of old and new with new body fairings over a modified monocoque frame, upgraded suspension components, and six-axis ride-quality controls to deliver extra safety on the road. Power comes from the Superquadro V-twin plant with over 150 ponies on tap to serve as the icing on the cake.
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650
Kawasaki gave its Ninja 650 supersport a facelift ahead of MY2020 with aggressive new lines. Safety and visibility were increased through LED technology, and instrumentation moves into the 21st century with a TFT display to deliver the metrics. New tires and new networking technology round out the package along with engine performance and handling that made the last generation a hit.
2018 - 2020 Triumph Street Triple S
Triumph upped the ante in 2018 with a newly-redesigned base model for its Street Triple line and introduced the all-new-in-2018 Street Triple S. The “S” runs with the same naked roadster looks as its predecessor, but with revised bodywork, an all-new powerplant for greater performance and tweaks to the frame to better handle high-speeds. Electronic wizardry abounds in the form of a riding mode feature, traction control, and ABS to help you manage all that newfound power that comes with an impressive 113 horsepower, all for about $10k.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2020 GSX-R750 carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984. Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R750.
2018 Triumph Street Triple R
Triumph raises the bar with a mid-level upgrade to its base Street Triple model with the Street Triple R and Street Triple R Low. These two siblings take the family to a more sport-tastic level with a number of upgrades to go with its aggressive good looks, starting with TFT instrumentation and extra electronic engine-control features that see riding modes added alongside the TC system, and an on-board ride computer that monitors and displays fuel burn rates, ambient temps and more. A souped-up engine powers the pair with 116 ponies in the paddock that are just waiting to be turned loose and let run. Upgraded suspension components improve handling with beefier brakes to haul it down, but that’s just the broad strokes.
2017 - 2020 Yamaha YZF-R6
If you’ve ever wanted to own a bona fide racing machine but didn’t have the money or vanity to go for one of the $100K-plus literbikes on the market right now, I’ve got good news for you; Yamaha updated its mid-size YZF-R6 in MY2017, and it can be had without selling a kidney or your firstborn. At just over the $12K mark, the R6 claims over 120 horsepower with a host of features to help riders manage the tremendous forces this thoroughbred generates. The 600 cc-ish bracket has been getting a little stale as of late between competition from the liter category and the burgeoning interest in the 300 cc bikes, so the updated version of a proven mid-size racetrack champ is exciting news indeed.
2019 - 2020 Yamaha YZF-R3
Done properly, brand indoctrination starts early, and the updated-in-2019 YZF-R3 is Yamaha’s primary bid for the supersport larvae it needs to support the rest of the range. The”R3” presents a race-tastic face to the world with design elements borrowed from its big brothers, the YZF-R6 and YZF-R1. It sports lower-drag bodywork and the same powerplant as the ’18 model for a net performance gain, however slim, and maintains its agile nature/fun factor for experienced pilots.
2017 - 2020 Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S
Ducati spruced up its Monster 1200 and 1200 S ahead of MY2017, and it looks as though the Italian giant is carrying over those new models at least through 2020. Both bikes sport new fuel tanks on top of updates to the subframe and swingarm that shorten the wheelbase and change the overall look, however slightly; but in the bigger picture, it adds to agility. The electronics suite delivers all the safety and ride-quality control features you can reasonably expect; it’s especially true now that items that were considered top-shelf have become ubiquitous enough to be part of the expected gear package.
2017 - 2019 KTM RC 390
KTM’s RC 390 saw a major revamp ahead of MY2017, and the Austrian giant carries that revised model through into 2019 as the smallest starter-super to be offered in the U.S. market. Don’t be fooled by the small displacement; this is a proper racebike trainer with all the handling performance you’d expect from larger machines.
2016 - 2020 Suzuki Hayabusa
It’s a Hayabusa. Is there really anything more to be said? Suzuki’s Gixxer 1,340 cc monster speed machine is back again for 2020. The ’Busa is one of the biggest sportbikes out there, so yeah, big and heavy; you don’t want to go slow for very long. Once at speed, the bike is in its element. Look up ’Stupidfast’ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
2019 Norton Superlight
Norton Motorcycles put together its Superlight for riders who are looking for a mid-size, street-legal ride that still qualifies as a racebike. Looking at this ride, it’s safe to say “mission accomplished.” The factory built the 650-twin engine in-house and borrowed heavily from its V4 powerplant for some real racetrack DNA to drive this aptly-named bike. Why aptly named? Mainly because the liberal use of carbon fiber and aluminum keeps the tally low at only 348 pounds (dry), so the 105-horsepower mill has less mass and inertia to deal with. I guess you could also call it the Superquick as well. Lest you doubt its racing chops, know that the factory plans on tackling the Isle of Man TT with this model, so if you’re looking for a bona fide British street racer, you need look no further.
2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory
Most of the major players have some sort of street-legal racebike on the market, and for Aprilia, that honor falls to the RSV4 1100 Factory. Aprilia pulls from the top shelf for the electronic safety and comfort systems to put together a machine that delivers track-like performance with a veritable alphabet soup of under-the-hood features. Aprilia gives you everything you need to manage the power that sets a new standard for a production V4 with over 200 ponies on tap.
2019 First Look: Aprilia Concept RS 660
As a general rule, Aprilia’s sportbike line falls in the superbike displacement range, but the factory ventures into new territory with its Concept RS 660 supersport. That’s right; Piaggio’s racebike subsidiary has designed an all-new ride around an equally-new, mid-size, twin-cylinder engine. The new engine borrows from the 1,100 cc V4 that powers the Tuono V4 and RSV4 1100 Factory for both its design and its electronics to make this a very well-rounded road machine. Add some comfort-related features and you’ve got yourself a fun-bike with some real potential. Details are still a bit sparse, but here’s what we know as of now.
2020 Arc Vector
Arc falls under the Jaguar-Land Rover umbrella via the “InMotion Ventures” fund, and its first limited-production model, the Vector, hits the streets next year. The Vector is an all-electric ride with some serious performance on tap – I’m talking about a potential range of 270 miles from a single charge and top speeds over the 100-mph mark – and it may be just the push the EV-bike industry needs to be accepted into the mainstream as a viable commuter model.
2019 Energica Eva 107
Energica expands into naked-streetfighter territory with its all-electric Eva 107 that strikes a balance between the stripped-down Eva EsseEsse9 and the full-bodied Ego. The Eva 107 has the same power and drive system as the Ego, and as usual for this Italian marque, the Eva 107’s looks would fit right in with a crowd of comparable smoker-bikes. In addition to its performance, it also has an array of ride-quality and regenerative modes that let you dial in to suit the conditions and your personal taste.
2019 Suzuki GSX-R1000X
Suzuki’s GSX-R has long been synonymous with top-tier, street-legal race bikes, and the new-for-2019 GSX-R1000X looks to continue and improve on that reputation. This new “Gixxer” is built around Suzuki’s design trinity that’s succinctly broken down as “run, stop, and turn” to give the “X” more of what most folks look for in a sportbike. A new powerplant rides in an equally new frame to make the GSX-R1000X a unique machine that follows the natural progression of design from the GSX-R1000 model it replaces.
2018 - 2019 KTM 790 Duke
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.
2020 BMW S 1000 RR
The Bayerische Motoren Werke leads off its 2020 lineup with a new version of its race-tastic S 1000 RR. As usual for BMW, items that were optional equipment last year are now part of the standard equipment package; I’m talking about such features as all-around LED lighting, lean-sensitive ABS and an adjustable clutch lever, just to name a few. The 999 cc powerplant shed some weight and took on the ShiftCam technology in a bid to deepen the torque well a bit and pick up a few ponies in the process. In short, Beemer’s new street-legal racebike comes to the table with more of the goods that made the previous generations such a hit.