Harley-Davidson announced its returning touring lineup for 2021, with updated paint options and small updates to the three Special models. As we expected, all of the 2020 model are returning in the face of Harley-Davidson’s plans to streamline its product portfolio. That means the 2021 lineup consists of the Electra Glide Standard, Road Glide Limited, Road Glide Special, Road King, Road King Special, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, and Ultra Limited.
Harley-Davidson announced its 2021 Softail lineup, highlighted by a new Street Bob 114 and a slightly refreshed Fat Boy 114. Joining them for 2021 are the Softail Slim, Softail Standard, Fat Bob 114, Heritage Classic, Heritage Classic 114, Low Rider S and Sport Glide. Confirming our earlier reporting, the Softail models being dropped for 2021 include the Low Rider (non-S version), Deluxe and FXDR 114, while the Breakout 114 will only be offered in some markets (but not the U.S.). We also expected the Street Bob to be discontinued, but that turned out to be half-true, with the Street Bob 114 replacing it.
Ask not why MO‘s review of an Italian bike called “California” comes from a correspondent in Barcelona, ask what you can do for MO. The first California, c. 1971, was designed with input from the Los Angeles PD, and sported a bulletproof windshield as part of its law enforcement equipment. We haven’t seen any California LEOs on Guzzis lately, but you never see the one with your number on it, do you? Let’s all behave out there, respect all traffic laws, always wear gloves, and honor the longitudinal 90-degree V-twin. Amen.
The 2021 Kawasaki KX250X is essentially the same motorcycle as the ‘21 KX250(F) with a few necessary changes to convert the motocrosser to an off-road racing machine. That’s not a bad thing by any means, particularly because the KX250F just received a major overhaul this year. Since this “new” model marks Kawasaki’s focus on off-road racing – a genre it has had major success in in the past – we couldn’t wait to get our hands on this latest model.
The worst-kept secret in the moto world for 2021 is finally here, as we now have official information about the upcoming 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660. I say it’s the worst-kept secret because Aprilia itself teased the bike back in November of 2019, and the official photos you’ll find all over this story don’t look too far removed from the ones back then.
Just as our man in Toronto, Dennis Chung, surmised at the beginning of December when Honda Europe announced these, Honda’s new and improved small dual-sports will be coming to America. Matter of fact, Honda says the CRF is the motorcycle industry’s top-selling dual-sport.
Honda sprung news today about upgrades for its 2021 Gold Wing, the biggest of them being a capacity increase for the Tour version’s trunk. Shrinkage in luggage capacity was the chief complaint with the heavily downsized 2018 ’Wing: the new trunk holds 61 liters of storage, compared to the previous 50 liters, which Honda says will easily accept two XXL full-face helmets (even when equipped with headsets).
With news of the Yamaha R6 going the way of the dodo bird, we thought it fitting to take a look back through the Motorcycle.com archives to see all the things we’ve written about Yamaha’s mighty little sportbike. Like the R6, Motorcycle.com has gone through a few changes since its inception in 1994, but fortunately for us, we’ve (barely) been around just long enough to see the R6’s journey. What follows is a trip through time with all the R6 stories that haven’t been lost during various server changes in MO’s history.
In a typical year, your friendly Motorcycle.com staff would have already attended several new bike introductions with others under embargo and secretly waiting on our calendar deep within the bowels of the MO Tower’s security center. (Look to the east of the Nakatomi Plaza, and there we are.) Unfortunately, the end of 2020 is pretty dry, and the beginning of 2021 isn’t looking any better for travel to test out new machinery. What this means for you, our readers, is that you’ll likely learn about how the 2021 motorcycle models perform a little later than usual because we’ll have to wait for the production models to arrive Stateside. This is a huge bummer all around. Our staff of MOrons live for this time of year.
Even before I first rode the Aprilia RS660, I feared this would finally be the bike that made my beloved Suzuki SV650 obsolete. Other bikes have tried – namely the Kawasaki Z/Ninja 650 and Yamaha’s MT-07 – but none have truly made me believe the ‘ol SV’s time in the spotlight was done.
KTM hasn’t officially announced its 2021 1290 Super Adventure models yet, but it briefly published the pages for both the street-focused Super Adventure S and more off-road capable Super Adventure R on its website. The pages were quickly taken down, but we’ve managed to snag the details. Both models receive a number of updates, including a radar-based adaptive cruise control system for the S model.
German vehicle emissions documentation confirms that a new KTM 1290 Super Duke RR is on the way, adding a higher-end variant to join the already-impressive Super Duke R. (UPDATE Feb. 1, 2021: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also certified the Super Duke RR, confirming the same state of tune as the Super Duke R.)
Ahhhh the good old days. Ten years ago, all we had to deal with was the aftermath of the Great Recession and the Swine Flu pandemic, which the CDC estimates killed 12,469 of us. How quaint. More importantly, Yamaha turned heads, by turning the head around 180 degrees on its big YZ motocrosser – moving its intake to the front and the exhaust ports to the rear. Radical! Perhaps a little too radical, as Yamaha’s last AMA Supercross championships came in 2008 and 2009, under Chad Reed and James “Bubba” Stewart. Is there a lesson, brethren? None that I can see, except ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough to ride open-class MXers, and always wear a clean air filter just in case. A pretty fun read from the Book of Fonzie. Amen.
Several months ago, Harley-Davidson announced plans to reduce its model lineup by 30% as part of its Rewire and Hardwire business strategies. More recently, the company revealed it will announce its 2021 models online in a “ virtual launch experience” on Jan. 19. The question, then, is what current models are on the chopping block, and which models will return?
Motorcycle sites around the world have been buzzing the last few weeks about the Harley-Davidson Custom 1250, the Revolution Max-powered potential Sportster replacement, suddenly appearing on the Motor Company’s official website, signifying it’s impending launch.
You don’t need big bucks or big bikes to have a swell adventure. But it helps. Or, you can have a perfectly fun adventure on either of these cute little Hondas, and still be one of the nicest people at the same time, as you’re getting nearly 100 mpg and treading lightly. These days, you take your adventures where you can get them. Instead of blasting off on a multi-day ride on big gas hogs, we poked around in our own Long Beach back yard.
Honda has updated its lineup of PCX scooters with new frames, new engines and traction control. For the Japanese market, Honda will include a 124cc version (simply called the “PCX”) while the PCX 150 sees a displacement increase to 157cc to become the PCX 160. Honda will also offer the PCX e:HEV hybrid electric version which combines the 124cc engine with an electric motor in Japan.
It was a dangerous, dirty assignment, but somebody had to do it: Go spend a night at the Surfrider Inn in Malibu, to be up early next morning to flog Polaris’ new Slingshot, with the new, new Autodrive Transmission the next day. The Slingshot has been around since 2015, but only with a 5-speed manual trans until 2020. You may recall Ryan Adams’ earlier test this past June of the new, Autodrive-equipped 2020 Slingshot, in which he was less than impressed with that transmission and said: “My hope is that the next iteration of Autodrive will come with paddle shifters (that actually shift when you press them).”
The re-introduction of the Honda Trail in the United States marks a homecoming of sorts for a model that was, and still is, very special to American Honda and many Americans that grew up riding it. While attending the introduction of the 2021 Honda Trail 125 in Julian, California a few weeks ago, I had the chance to see the new model sat next to a well-preserved, but used 1985 Trail 110. The resemblance is commendable. From the dimensions themselves, to small details like the large hub on the front wheel that looks reminiscent of a drum despite the new model’s disc brakes (front and rear), Honda has done a really great job making the 2021 model a spitting image of the Trails imported to the US in the ‘80s.
And after the world wailed and gnashed its teeth in vain for a decade or two, waiting for Honda to produce a kimono-lifting V-Four sportbike, Aprilia finally did the deed in 2009, and all the children did sing. In 2010, the Romans of Noale did the world an even bigger solid by making a $5000-cheaper version, the RSV4R, that anyone could afford. Unfortunately the actual MSRP is lost to history, as no one could be assed to provide a simple spec chart in those days. Besides, if you have to ask…
Honda Europe announced new CRF300L and CRF300 Rally dual sports for 2021, replacing the CRF250L and CRF250L Rally models. As of this writing, American Honda has yet to confirm whether it will import the new 300 models, but it’s likely we’ll receive news shortly.
Ten years ago, brethren, Honda broughteth forth to the US a scooter it claimed was the best-selling scooter in Italy. It was also designed by Honda Italy, so how bad could this sweet fuel-injected scooter be? By all accounts, the SH150i was a fine scoot, but what renders in Rome doesn’t always fly in the land of the free, and ah, I think this is the first exposure I’ve had to this particular vehicle. It’s difficult to tell in this MO Review, as all three photos of the bike are right front views, but the styling may have been just a bit too Karmann Ghia for the US, and the SH wasn’t around for long. But there is nothing new under the sun, and according to the specs (not that we bothered to publish any), that 57.3mm x 57.9mm liquid-cooled single lives on in the current PCX and ADV150s. Amen on the scooters. A reading from the book of Fonzie.
Kawasaki typically tries to showcase some of the project it works on at motorcycle shows like EICMA. Last year, for example, Kawasaki presented an electric motorcycle concept and provided a look at its development. Obviously, there are no motorcycle shows this year due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped Kawasaki from showcasing some of its ongoing projects, providing a peek at its hybrid motorcycle and artificial intelligence projects.
In a cross-branding exercise with its Emilia-Romagna neighbor (and technically, it’s parent company), Ducati revealed a new Lamborghini edition version of the Diavel 1260. The limited edition Ducati Diavel 1260 Lamborghini is styled after the automaker’s Siàn FKP 37 supercar, sporting the same Gea Green and Electrum Gold color scheme, similar-looking wheels and lightweight carbon fiber elements.
Well, we’ve already seen this lovely engine in the Africa Twin, but Honda’s 1084 cc parallel Twin is going to be just as cool and even more accessible, to more people, slotted into Honda’s latest cruiser. With a seat Honda says is just 27.5 inches from the dirty boulevard, and the option of the excellent DCT automatic transmission, this one’s going to be a motorcycle anyone can ride. And at $9,999 for the DCT version ($700 less for the 6-speed manual), it’s also a bike almost anybody can afford. And HELLO, those prices include ABS brakes, USB ports, ride modes and wait for it: cruise control.
Fans of lightweight versatile motorcycles rejoice! Kawasaki has announced two new motorcycles for 2021 built around the 2021 KLX 300 platform. The first is the 2021 KLX 300 Dual-Sport, which Kawasaki says “comes ready with all the tools necessary to deliver an exciting riding experience, taking on paved streets, back roads, wooded trails and beyond.” The 2021 KLX 300SM takes the same platform and wraps it in more streetable components suitable for everything from commuter duty to unkinking the most serpentine roads to fun days on the supermoto track.
Last week, I decided the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon is my favorite motorcycle of all time. This week, that could change with the introduction of Kawasaki’s new sit-up straight naked Special Edition Z H2. If this new Z SE doesn’t have quite the top end horsepower of the full-monte H2 (206 rear-wheel hp on the dyno), it still has plenty, and it also has many other tidbits going for it that might very well make up the difference, including the aforementioned upright naked-bike ergonomics. “A relaxed riding position has been created by a combination of an upright handlebar shape and a seat with an optimized base plate and cushion thickness,” says Kawasaki. “This design provides a high degree of freedom for riding posture and low vibration, allowing for a pleasant and comfortable ride.”
KTM has filed a patent application for a new low-slung saddle-shaped fuel tank, and the illustrations suggest it will be used on a new 1290 Super Adventure. KTM first introduced the rally-style tank design on the 790 Adventure R, and a similar design has since made it to the 890 and 390 Adventure models. It seems natural, then, that we would see the 1290 Super Adventure get a similar design.
BMW’s littlest “Dynamic Roadster” is a hoot; now the 34-horsepower thumper is even hootier and Euro-5 compliant, along with a bunch of other upgrades including an electromotive throttle controller and automatic idle speed increase, a new slip/assist clutch, new LED headlight and LED flashing turn indicators, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a “softly reimagined” design in two attractive base colors with graphics options.
Ducati has updated its SuperSport for 2021, giving it Panigale V4-inspired styling and a six-axis inertial measurement unit while bringing it in line with Euro 5 standards. Ducati also officially added “950” to the model’s name, which is interesting in that it suggests other displacements might be in the works, but at this point, the 2021 line-up will consist of the SuperSport 950 and the SuperSport 950 S.
I thought I was picking up a new Z H2 naked at Kawasaki, but there was some miscommunication. I got this H2 Carbon instead, the full-zoot sport version barely removed from the track-only H2R instead of the slightly tamer naked I was expecting. Damn the luck! I’d really prefer to be sat a bit more upright. When I climbed on and reached for the clip-ons, the H2 Carbon hurt my lumbar and impinged upon my liver compartment. Then it cracked my knees when I picked my feet up onto the pegs. And the way the thing revved and the supercharger chirped in the parking lot frankly was a bit frightening. It seemed angry. This is ridiculous. Nobody needs a motorcycle like this outside of the Bonneville salt flats.
Kawasaki‘s World Superbike racing team has begun testing of the 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR, revealing the superbike’s new look. As KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes take the new Ninja out on the Jerez circuit, Kawasaki confirmed the production model ZX-10RR, and presumably the Ninja ZX-10R as well, will be revealed on Nov. 23. (Updated with high resolution photos).
Harley-Davidson‘s electric bicycle sub-brand Serial 1 has revealed its initial line-up of four electric bicycles. The debut line-up of pedal-assist ebikes range in price from $3,399 to $4,999 and will initially launch in the U.S. and Germany. Serial 1 is accepting pre-orders now, with deliveries expected to begin in March 2021.
Lest we forget, chilluns, the new Trident on the way from Triumph is not the first time they’ve resurrected that famed monicker from the swingin’ Sixties. Here’s hoping Poseidon’s new weapon will be pointier than the last one 25 years ago, which left Brent – the rock upon which MO was built – pining for a Sportster. OMG.
BMW revealed a new electric scooter concept called the Definition CE 04. Debuting at #NEXTGen 2020, a BMW event showcasing the company’s ideas on the future of mobility, the Definition CE 04 offers a blend of electric drive and digital communication technologies. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because BMW introduced a similar concept in 2017 called the Concept Link.
Ducati says the Nightshift, “whose name immediately evokes the atmosphere of the night, fits into the `Land of Joy’ as the ideal choice for all those looking for an essential and stylish bike at the same time, with a comfortable riding position, also in the company of a passenger and which allows its owner to experiment through customization.”Yours exclusively in Aviator Grey, the Nightshift gets a new flat seat in Cafè Racer style for two. A straight and narrow handlebar is added to the Cafè Racer mirrors, with number plates taken from the Full Throttle.
Ducati has updated its XDiavel range to meet Euro 5, adding two new variants for 2021: XDiavel Dark and XDiavel Black Star (pictured above). The good news: the Euro 5 update adds 8 hp to the XDiavel’s claimed power figures. The bad news: only countries where the emission standard is in place will get the update, meaning countries like the U.S. will not see a performance increase.
Further bad news: the XDiavel Black Star will not be offered in North America.
Dang, it sounds like Honda has given one of my personal favorites a little more of everything that makes it a favorite: More power, more rpm, outstanding fuel efficiency (up to 66 mpg), 13 fewer pounds of weight, a bigger storage compartment, lower seat height, sharper styling, ride modes, a slipper clutch for the 6-speed version – and the automatic Dual Clutch Trans is still an option, which gives the NC really all the best features of a motorcycle and a scooter. Which makes it interesting that Honda categorizes it as an Adventure motorcycle (where the current NC’s price is $8,099 in the US).
Yamaha announced a new SP version of the updated 2021 MT-09 revealed two weeks ago, featuring higher-end suspension and cruise control plus a black and blue color scheme. Joining the MT-09 SP are the MT-10 and MT-03 which return for 2021 with new color options.
Honda has updated the CB1000R for 2021, giving its “Neo Sports Café” flagship a slightly new look, a color TFT display and Euro 5 compliance, as well as a Black Edition variant. As of this writing, the new 2021 Honda CB1000R has only been announced for Europe, but we expect a U.S. announcement to come soon.
When Troy was assigned the 2020 Africa Twin to review, I think we were both a bit perplexed. But I had a packed schedule and Troy is a professional. So, I didn’t spend too much time worrying about it. I did however, pry the AT out of Troy’s normally gauntlet-clad hands as soon as I was able. The V-Strom/Africa Twin comparison was the first time I had the chance to get out from behind the computer for an actual ride up into the mountains to get a little dust on the tires. Not long into that shoot, I knew I would want to get back out as soon as I could to spend some more time on the new AT. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun to explore with.
Ducati officially revealed its new Multistrada V4, which joins the two-cylinder Multistrada 1260 and Multistrada 950 in its adventure-touring lineup. The 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 will be offered in three versions, the base model V4, the V4 S and the V4 S Sport.
An updated 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR have been confirmed in vehicle certification data submitted in Australia. The certification documents reveal a new fairing for the Ninjas, plus some engine updates that were likely aimed to meet Euro 5 requirements.
Yamaha revealed an updated MT-07 that… well, let’s just say that if you aren’t a fan of the 2021 MT-09‘s new look, you likely won’t be a fan of this either. Chances are you won’t be a fan of the MT-10‘s next update either if it follows Yamaha’s smaller “Master of Torque” naked MT models.
Twenty years ago, brethren, Kawasaki had already been stamping out EX500s for 13 years, a process it would continue right up until 2009 and the Ninja 650 replacement. For most of those years at the height of the superbike wars, a famed Editor-in-Chief of a Major Motorcycle Magazine, King Arthur of Friedman, was known to proclaim that the EX500 was all the motorcycle any sane street rider could ever need. Luckily for us all, sanity did not rule the day. King Art was crazy, but he may have been right. And he only ever wanted what was best for you kids. A reading from the MOrinthians, with the Apostles Mini and Clavin. Amen.
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” – Mark Twain
Harley-Davidson‘s much analyzed “ Rewire” plan may be starting to see some positive results, as the company reported its strongest third quarter since 2015 despite decreasing sales volume. It will take a while longer to see if the plan and its eventual follow-up, the Hardwire plan, will pay off in the long run, but for the short term, the Rewire has succeeded in reducing costs.
Details for the 2021 Yamaha MT-09 have just been released. Notable takeaways for the 2021 model year are an all-new larger capacity engine at 890cc, updated chassis to match, and advanced electronics. While those are certainly the major changes for this new iteration of MT-09, styling has also been tweaked slightly throughout, with the cyclops-esque headlight undoubtedly being the most polarizing change.
I knew this day would come eventually. I didn’t expect it to take so long, but I suppose good things like the Aprilia RS660 are worth waiting for. You see, as an owner of a Suzuki SV650 that’s almost of legal drinking age (and a former Kawasaki Versys 650 owner), I have a soft spot for bikes in this middleweight category. They hit that sweet spot between power, performance, and price – there’s just enough power to keep things exciting, moderate performance to emphasize the importance of rider skill, and well…SVs are dirt cheap. After all this time, I still haven’t found a compelling reason to replace my trusty little Suzuki.