And speaking of Japanese motorcycles with looooong shelf lives, how about the DR-Z400S? Suzuki sold the first one in 2000 as a serious enduro machine you could ride around on the street, too. And they’ll sell you one today, complete with 36mm Mikuni carburetor, for just $7,099 – which is $1750 more than 22 years ago. That nicely tracks the price of real estate. Wait, that’s not quite accurate… Take it away, Tommy Roderick:
Kawasaki is bringing back both the Ninja 650 and Z650 for 2023 with one significant update – traction control. Formerly a rider aid only for the most powerful sportbikes on the planet, the safety benefits of traction control reach far beyond trying to go quickly around a racetrack. The two-step KTRC system does not feature the exotic IMUs that flagship sportbikes use, but a more modest system. In mode 1, KTRC allows the rear tire to slip a little more and doesn’t intervene as early. It’s a sport setting designed to allow the rider maximum drive and acceleration off a corner.
Kawasaki presented an electric prototype at Intermot, providing a glimpse of what an eventual production model may look like. The EV prototype was part of a wide-ranging speech from Masaya Tsuruno, managing director of Kawasaki Motors Europe, discussing the company’s approach to reaching carbon neutrality.
I was all Pavlov dogging when I read that the KX450SR “features elite-level racing components, special tuning and design elements inspired by the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team,” only to suffer slight cotton mouth when I learned that consists of nothing more than new SHOWA suspension components front and rear. I mean, obviously great suspension is critical to motorcycles that leap 40 feet into the air, but I felt like I was led to believe there’d be more. In fact, the rest of the 2022 package was already so blinged out, there wasn’t much more Kawasaki could add. It’s even got push-button starting.
Honda officially revealed its new CB750 Hornet, a new middleweight naked claiming a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. Unfortunately, the new Hornet has only been confirmed for Europe thus far, with no indication of U.S. availability. Pricing varies from country to country, but they generally hover around US$7,800.
Ducati revealed a new Multistrada V4 Rally in the latest episode of its 2023 World Première web series. And while the model name hints at improved off-road capability, the V4 Rally’s feature list leans more for long distance travel and passenger comfort than tackling Dakar.
We’re now a couple of episodes into Ducati‘s 2023 World Première launch series, but there are still another five parts to go. Ducati has already started teasing this week’s episode, which we expect will be for a GSA-battling Multistrada V4 variant, with a new Panigale V4 R, a Diavel V4, and a next-generation Scrambler expected in the weeks ahead.
Honda‘s been teasing its new Hornet for several months now, first with a concept at EICMA, some design sketches in June, and more recently, details about its new Parallel-Twin engine. While we wait for Honda to officially reveal the the bike, we’ve managed to get further specifications for the 2023 Honda Hornet, thanks to vehicle certification data from Switzerland.
Like your Eskimos and snow, we here in California have 100 different words for sand. Regular sand. Powder sand, silt, chonky sand, fine sand, &, blowing sand, deep sand, you get the picture. The stuff’s all over the place, which makes sense as it’s a desert. So it’s nice to have a vehicle able to traverse it. Enter the SSR Sand Viper eMTN bike.
It’s been nearly two years since BMW first debuted the M 1000 RR, its first motorcycle to carry the company’s high-performance M brand. We knew it wouldn’t be the first, though, after we broke the news that BMW had trademarked the name along with “M 1000 XR” and “M 1300 GS.” What we didn’t expect was for the next M-branded motorcycle to be based on the S 1000 R.
The thing about any of the electric motorcycle companies actually taking product development seriously is that, more often than not, each new model they introduce is markedly better than any model before it. Considering the EV market is still in its early stages, you expect a marked advancement with each new model.
I’m a big fan of scramblers that can actually Scram, ya dig? When a production scrambler has the chops and capability to do what those customized rigs did back in the good ol’ days, well, that’s the real deal. Isn’t it? Royal Enfield has based this latest machine on its highly popular Himalayan ADV bike so, in theory, the new 411 should be nearly as capable as that machine while being imbued with its own style. A tweak here, some new paint there, a smaller front wheel, viola! Welcome to the Scram 411.
Following our recent Falloon File about the lovely and talented little Ducati Supermono, Commenter Bob wanted to know: “Why did Bordi use an extra connecting rod instead of the usual balance shafts? BMW had a parallel twin with a third con rod for the same reason. I would be interested in reading a technical analysis of those motors.”
These days, any manufacturer with pretensions to being a global player at whatever level in the marketplace has to have a dual-purpose Adventure model in its range, and MV Agusta is no exception. Italy’s most historic trophy brand – the so-called Ferrari of motorcycles, with 270 Grand Prix road racing victories and 75 World Championship titles in its locker, including 17 successive 500GP crowns – actually has a notable off-road heritage, too. Company founder Count Domenico Agusta’s dirt demons won successive Italian MX/Enduro titles in the 1950s and ’60s, as well as equipping the Italian team in ISDT events abroad. But after the Castiglioni family acquired MV 30 years ago, their focus for the brand was exclusively on the hard stuff – a focus which the company’s current owner Timur Sardarov is now in the process of changing.
Suzuki announced updates for the V-Strom 1050, as well as a new off-road oriented version for 2023. The new 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE replaces the 1050XT model, and adds new features to make it a more capable off-road machine such as a 21-inch front wheel, longer-stroke suspension, and a larger aluminum bash plate.
In a move further supporting my argument that R1s are purpose-built racebikes with lights and mirrors to make them legal on the roads, for 2023 Yamaha is introducing the R1 GYTR – an R1 prepared specifically for track duty, without any of the homologation pieces for roadworthiness (don’t worry, the standard R1 isn’t going anywhere). Yamaha similarly does the same thing with the R6, offering it for sale exclusively as a track-only model.
What’s that? You want a simple, lightweight adventure bike with LCD instruments and no cruise control that won’t break the bank? Something Japanese, with a huge dealer network so you won’t be afraid to leave the neighborhood? Well you can’t have it now, and you couldn’t have it 25 years ago either, cause I’m pretty sure Suzuki never imported the XF650 Freewind to the US did they? You can probably blame the Freemasons or whoever it was that also quashed the 200-mpg Rochester Quadrajet. But Yossef got to ride it in Europe or somewhere, and five years later the wind theme continued with the first V-Strom.
To celebrate 30 years since Aprilia won its first world championship title, Aprilia (or, more appropriately, the racing division) is introducing this, the RSV4 Xtrenta. Encompassing the same basic profile the RSV4 has carried since its birth over a decade ago, the Xtrenta is defined by the level of aerodynamic work the Noale factory has applied from its MotoGP program.
Spy photographers have snapped images of two new Suzuki prototypes powered by a new Parallel-Twin engine. The two motorcycles, an adventure bike and a naked model, appear to be the eventual successors to the V-Strom 650 and SV650, and the culmination of a long development path for Suzuki’s new middleweight twin-cylinder engine.
As we reported a few weeks ago, GasGas is releasing a new replica based on its 2022 Dakar-winning race bike. The 2023 GasGas RX 450F Replica is a limited-edition model that comes as close as you can get to Sam Sunderland’s and Daniel Sanders’ factory rally-raid bikes.
If there’s one thing KTM knows how to do, it’s how to get dirty. The company obviously has its long history of off-road competition, and victories, to its name, and that success has transferred nicely into the adventure bike market. You can even argue KTM’s adventure bikes (along with the BMW GS family) are responsible for this boom in the ADV market.
Harley-Davidson unveiled the latest member of its Icons Collection with a devilish take on the Low Rider ST. Limited to a production run of just 1,500 models, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider El Diablo introduces a custom red paint job and a factory-installed Rockford Fosgate audio system for a price of $27,999.
Looking back upon it through 20-year thick vino rosso-colored glasses, I remember really liking the 2002 Ducati 999. Probably because so many others did not; following that 916 shape was never going to be easy. But reading the old road test, the faint praise is palpable. Oh well, at least there’s a gratuitous crash pic of our new intern, Sean Alexander, on some other motorcycle. The look of Terblanche’s design has only grown on me over the years, but that could be because I haven’t seen a 999 in probably a decade. I do still have the t-shirt.
As we motored slaunchways across Utah, the late daylight stretched our shadows and cast golden hues against the tall canyon walls, further accentuating the contrast between the rust colored ancient seabeds peppered with lush green juniper and muted sage. The lavender sky over Bryce faded as we continued westward on Hwy 12. Refusing to pack a second visor for my Shoei Hornet X2, I lifted the dark smoke shield as I led our crew into the dark dense forest, keeping my line of sight just above the Ténéré’s windscreen in an attempt to protect my peepers from the onslaught of kamikaze insects. In a further showing of stubbornity, I refused to roll back off the throttle while the only bit of light left – aside from what the Ténéré’s quite ample quad headlight offered – was a thick crimson band at the horizon, the bottom punctured by spire-like tree tops.
Back in May 2021, MO’s resident sleuth Dennis Chung took a dive into the rumor mill surrounding a possible mini-Africa Twin coming from Honda. Trademark filings for the name Transalp were filed in several markets around the world, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Tommyguns Roderick has left the building. Well, not like Elvis; he’s still alive and well. But he’s left the MO building. Not that we have one anymore. Ten years ago, though, TR was at Auto Club Speedway riding a pair of tasty KTM RC8 R sportbikes, which at the time were a small but interesting part of the Austrian lineup. At the time, electronic niceties like traction control and quickshifters were novelties; now they’re ubiquitous, and we’re all the safer for them. Or are we? As the great Donald Canet once observed, “rain tires simply allow you to crash at a higher rate of speed.”
When the DesertX prototype hit the scene at EICMA in 2019, it was portrayed as a Dakar-inspired Scrambler variant – that was the initial idea anyway. As you’re likely already aware, the production DesertX is anything but. Powered by the proven 937cc Testastretta 11° Desmo engine, the 2023 Ducati Desert X has been designed from the ground up as a purpose-built adventure machine.
Heaping praise upon Yamaha’s naked bikes has become all too easy lately. Yes, the MT-07 did get dethroned in last year’s Middleweight Naked comparison, but not by much – and it took brand-new motorcycles from Aprilia and Triumph to do it. When it came time for the 900cc(ish) Nakeds last August, the newly revamped MT-09 surprised a couple people by taking the cake against KTM Duke 890 and five other very nice and mostly more expensive motorcycles. Sadly, when it was time for the Open Class Nakeds shootout last November, the MT-10 got left out. We thought it was too old, and couldn’t win. Plus, we knew the 2022 Yamaha MT-10 was on its way. Possibly to save the day.
After teasing us in March, Bombardier Recreational Products officially revealed its first two Can-Am electric motorcycles, the Pulse roadster and the Origin dual-sport. Both models were presented as prototypes, meaning they are very close to what will eventually be the final product, which will enter production in the summer of 2024.
All we learn from history, goes the current cynical wisdom, is that we learn nothing from history. Then again, maybe we do? For instance, I just learned this morning that Yamaha is still stamping out the FJR1300ES 20 years after the original 2002 FJR1300 hit our shores. Well, they’re still selling them anyway. I remember FJ1100 very fondly, FJ1200 was the tool for inhaling great draughts of western landscape at ludicrous speed… all before this first liquid-cooled FJR blew our moldy sport-touring socks off. (Note Minime’s acting out by spelling three of four names wrong in only the first 2.5 lines of copy. Is there an Editor in the house?)
Last week, Ducati announced it would once again present its new product announcements in a series of online presentations. Just like in 2020 and 2021, the Ducati World Première 2023 series will take place over multiple episodes, with each part featuring a different product line.
A new Vehicle Identification Number decoder released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that Kawasaki will be introducing a 399cc Inline-Four Ninja ZX-4R model for 2023. While the VIN decoder does not provide any clue to what the ZX-4R will look like, we expect it will be styled similar to the 249cc Ninja ZX-25R (pictured above) currently offered in Japan and other Asian markets.
Earlier this year, Kawasaki revealed its first electric two-wheeler, but a lot of people were disappointed when they realized it was a kids’ balance bike called the Elektrode. Those hoping for an electric streetbike from Kawasaki won’t have to wait too much longer, as we can confirm two new models will be coming to the U.S. for the 2023 model year.
Greg D. from Rider magazine and Ron Lieback from Cycle World had been beating me up all day around the cute little test track at CFMOTO’s coming-out party for its seven new motorcycles last month. Even when I was on my favorite 2022 CFs – the 700CL-X and ADVentura 650 – those guys were still leaving me in the dust on what should’ve been slower motorcycles, dammit. But I think I’ve written entire columns about how it’s better to never have been really good at any particular sport, as it makes it way easier to accept defeat. Serious competitors get their psyches all bruised and bent out of shape; I retreat to the food truck for more bbq and beverages… Also, the damp patches and tar snakes were things everybody had to deal with, but the older you get the more you prefer to not fall off the motorcycle.
Oh, look what turned up in this morning’s search through the archives: a 2002 Suzuki SV-1000S review/Spanish travelogue by our dearly departed friend/former fearless leader Sean Alexander. Well, I mean, he’s not departed departed; he’s only moved to Hawaii with his lovely wife Natalie to live the good life – while we who must remain go on living just the same. We miss you buddy. Good times…
Back in May, Harley-Davidson announced it would temporarily halt motorcycle production due to a “regulatory compliance matter” regarding an unspecified part from a third-party supplier. Harley-Davidson initially estimated the stoppage would last two weeks but it eventually lasted 19 days before production resumed on June 6.
CFMOTO was founded in 1989 and has been a significant presence in China’s domestic market ever since – producing government vehicles for police, fire departments, etc. In that time, it’s also been developing a name for itself as a feature-rich and reliable manufacturer of engines, parts, ATVs, side-by-sides, scooters, and motorcycles worldwide.
Maybe I’ve been hanging out with Managing Editor Ryan Adams too much. After more than 30 years of riding almost exclusively on the street, I’ve been bitten by the off-road bug. (Having a 14 year-old daughter who asked me to teach her to ride dirt bikes played a big part, too.) However, I don’t want to just drive to the desert, do daylong dirt rides, load the bikes in the truck, and drive home. I want to travel, too. Adventure touring has tickled my fancy.
Lightning Motorcycles has filed designs for an electric adventure bike. The designs, filed with China’s intellectual property office, reveal a motorcycle with the typical ADV accoutrements, and an electric motor and swingarm design that look similar to those of Lightning’s Strike sportbike.
Many undies were twisted, bunched, and/or soiled after last week’s exciting Review First Ride of the new CFMOTO 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport, which gave us a chance to discuss not just new motorcycles but also international relations. Always a crowd favorite on MO. That’s because these are completely built in China, a country which is either our mortal enemy or best trading partner depending on who you ask. Here on MO, we provide. You decide. This time we’re going to have a look at the other five bikes CFMOTO’s importing via its Plymouth, Minnesota, US HQ – in addition to all the highly regarded ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides they’ve been dealing for decades.
With just about every Chinese motorcycle I can remember riding, there’s nearly always A Problem. Sometimes they look great on paper, and sometimes they even look pretty good in the flesh. But then you hop on and start riding, and are met with a powerband that’s more a powerhole. Or an ADV bike with two inches of rear suspension travel, or cast iron components that weigh 60 pounds more than the competition. If it’s not one glaring thing, there’s usually a combination platter of weirdnesses that make you question whether the monetary savings are worth the sacrifice for any but the cheapest of contrarian skates – even if reliability isn’t much of a concern any more.
With the calendar flipping over to July, we are now officially in the second half of 2022. That also means motorcycle manufacturers are starting to make their model announcements for 2023. Around this time of year, we typically hear about updated models returning with the always-popular “Bold New Graphics,” such as last week’s news of 2023 BMW paint options.
Unlike the 1098, however, the Ducati 848 features a wet clutch, which is very untraditional for Ducati. Dry clutches, and the noise they emanate, are a synonymous characteristic of Ducati superbikes. The Italian manufacturer, holding performance above all other concerns, had historically constructed the street-going versions of its superbikes with the race-oriented dry clutch found in its competition machines. Ducati claims the 848’s wet clutch is lighter, reduces noise and extends service intervals compared to the dry clutch version. The Ducati 848 and its wet clutch also represent a change in Ducati philosophy wherein the company is constructing each bike for its realistic/intended environment (in this case street riding) and not as if every bike they produce is being raced on closed course circuit.
The Harley vs Indian rivalry is up there with some of the biggest rivalries in modern pop culture. Think Coke vs Pepsi, Mac vs PC, Army vs Navy, Edison vs Tesla. Then there’s Harley vs Indian. These two titans of motorcycling built a rivalry that lasted for decades, and despite the fact Indian dropped from the scene for 60 years, ever since its resurgence in 2013, it’s as though the rivalry picked right back up where it left off. And we’re all better for it.
American motorcycling is known for big touring bikes, and the recent Showdown between the Harley Road Glide Limited and Indian Pursuit Limited Premium was as Americana as they come. However, cruisers are also a staple of the American riding experience. Chief among them (Indian pun not intended) the Harley Sportster and Indian Scout. These two lightweights of cruiserdom are anything but light but have historically been the bikes to reach for if simplicity and bare-bones cruising were what you were craving. Low and slow, as they say.
BMW released initial details on its 2023 model lineup, including new colors and minor updates. BMW also announced the base MSRP for most of its models, though that information is rather moot, as it also announced additional packages which will automatically be added on to all models in the U.S.
Back in early May, MO broke the news that Triumph is giving the Street Twin and Street Scrambler models new names for 2023, renaming them the Speed Twin 900 and Scrambler 900, respectively. We have now uncovered further evidence of the name changes, plus confirmation that the models are otherwise identical to the 2022 versions.