Top 10 Hottest Bikes of 2012

These 10 motorcycles are sure to make waves in 2012

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BMW C600 Sport and C650GT

First introduced at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy earlier this year, BMW’s two new scooters – the C600 Sport and C650GT – represent a complete departure for the company. Built to fight the challenges of inner-city traffic, rising energy costs, and ever-tightening emission regulations, these two scoots look to bring the BMW brand to a whole new segment of two-wheelers.

Here are the numbers: 647cc parallel-Twin (don’t let the “C600” name fool you), 60 horsepower, 109 mph top speed, and, in the case of the C600, 0-62.5 mph in 7.1 seconds. Great numbers for a scooter. Suspension and running gear are equally impressive and point to both scooters being serious rides for serious riders.

2012 BMW C600 Sport and C650 GT side by side

As the names and pictures would suggest, the C600 Sport sheds some luxury amenities and places the rider into an aggressive, sporty position – perfect for embarrassing lesser riders on sportbikes. The C650GT, meanwhile, is perfect for riders looking to rack up miles on the odometer while doing so in complete comfort, and it can also attack a challenging mountain road should the situation arise.

Die-hard motorcyclists can scoff all they want at BMW’s latest entries, but everything we’ve seen, heard and read points to these scooters being the swift kick in the pants to the scooter world the S1000RR was to the sportbike wars. One thing’s for sure – we’re looking forward to riding them. BMW has yet to set pricing for either scooter, but we’re expecting a starting MSRP around $10,000 or so.

2012 BMW C600 Sport and C650 GT action

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Brammo Empulse

The high-performance electric sportbike from Brammo, the Empulse, was revealed more than a year-and-a-half ago, with the promise of production in the first quarter of 2011. Now, finally, Brammo says the Empulse is slated for production in early 2012.

What makes this electric sportbike special is Brammo’s claim that the Empulse 10.0 is capable of reaching 100 mph, as well as boasting a range of 100 miles on a single charge. Those numbers are halved, at most, in even the best current model production electric bikes on offer from other brands.

2012 Brammo Empulse left

Also highly innovative is the Empulse’s six-speed transmission. Most manufacturers of electric motorcycles (including Brammo) use a power controller unit that allows the rider to modulate power via a traditional twist throttle, thereby bypassing the complexity of multi-gear transmission. Powered by a 57-hp motor with a liquid-cooled 10-kwh battery, the Empulse claims a charge time of 10 hours from a 110V outlet. Brammo will also offer a 6.0 and 8.0 version with smaller batteries and lower price points.

In our July 2010 Empulse Preview we learned that the three production versions have estimated curb weights of 370 lbs for the Empulse 6.0, 390 lbs for the 8.0, and 410 lbs for the 10.0. The higher-performance bikes will weigh more because of their higher capacity batteries. Empulse MSRPs are priced in order of performance at $9,995, $11,995, and $13,995, respectively.

2012 Brammo Empulse action

Although a production-level Empulse is long overdue, Brammo has been involved in electric motorcycle racing from the beginning. The Ashland, Ore., company took third place in the inaugural Isle of Man TT TTXGP in 2009, following up with the 2011 TTXGP North American Championship on a race version of the Empulse.

The Empulse is impressive enough that it’s even caught the attention of mainstream media. In November 2011 the Empulse was chosen among 100 winners to receive a “Best of What’s New” award from Popular Science magazine. Of the 11 awards in the automotive category, the Empulse was the only motorcycle.

2012 Brammo Empulse right

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Brammo Empulse Named to PopSci Best Of What’s New Awards
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