Motorcycle.com’s Naked Summer continues in 2021 with our third naked bike test of the year. We started things off with the Middleweight Nakedbike Shootout, and followed that with the not-quite-heavyweight set of nakeds. But instead of moving up in size to the big boys in the field, we’ve decided to pivot in the opposite direction and bring you a matchup of the little naked bikes in the category – and by “matchup” we mean a comparison of each bike’s specs.
While we’ve seen the fluctuation of “entry-level” displacements swell over the past few years in the U.S., a difference in opinion still remains among riders and manufacturers alike regarding the perfect entry-level machine. Disregarding current trends, the Austrians have decided to bring the KTM 200 Duke – a model that has existed in other markets for some time now – stateside for 2020. When asked why they felt this machine would fit the U.S. market, KTM explained the decision was to give riders a more approachable entry point to the KTM family, specifically, into the Duke product range. Now interested parties have a clear path up through the Duke lineup should they choose.
It didn’t take long to find what would appear to be a worthy contender to the KTM 390 Duke. Enter BMW’s new G 310 R. European? Check. Naked? Check. Single cylinder? Check. By golly! I think we should pit these two lil thumpers against each other in a battle to the death! Or at least compare them to help communicate their similarities and differences and perhaps which motorcycle a potential buyer might be more interested in purchasing based on their riding expectations. Nevertheless, let the battle commence!
Why is the motorcycle industry in a rut? I understand that consumer demographics are changing as baby boomers are aging and aren’t really buying motorcycles anymore. Gen-Xers? Well, as the last of the analog generations, you guys have basically been passed over in light of rapid advances in technology over the last 20 years – consider yourselves lucky. Which leaves a large part of the burden to us millennials bailing our asses out.
However you look at it, 2015 is destined to be an exciting year for motorcyclists. Seemingly every manufacturer is coming out with new models next year – a sure sign the moto industry is recovering nicely from the doom and gloom of the economic downturn. It seems to me, though, that certain bikes have been hogging the limelight. I’m talking Yamaha R1, Ducati Scrambler, and of course, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and H2R, just to name a few. While I’m not saying those bikes don’t deserve their moment in the sun, the 2015 model year is filled with machines deserving of more attention, all of which I’m genuinely looking forward to riding. So in this week’s Top 10, I give you my list of 10 underhyped bikes of 2015.