Ducati confirmed a naked version of the Panigale V4 is on the way for 2020, announcing a prototype of the Streetfighter V4 will be entered in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later this month. Carlin Dunne, who previously won the PPIHC motorcycle class on a Multistrada, will be riding the Ducati Streetfighter V4 prototype in the June 30 race.
KTM has changed the way we look at small-displacement naked bikes with the 390 Duke. No longer is it just a learning tool for new or inexperienced riders, but now, no matter who you are, if you can’t find a way to have an ear-to-ear grin riding the baby Duke, you probably don’t have a pulse. If it’s not clear by now, we love the 390 Duke around here – its 373cc Single is anything but boring, it handles surprisingly well, and its looks are sharp enough to convince you to park it where everyone can see.
Here at MO, we’re pretty excited about the 2019 Zero SR/F. With it, Zero has given us the third generation of its electric platform. In reality, however, this is the first time that Zero has delivered a full-sized-feeling electric motorcycle. After 13 years, Zero’s engineers say they finally have the tools to create the type of electric motorcycle they wanted to build all along. While electric motorcycles are still an extremely young technology, the fit and finish of the SR/F show that it is leaving infancy behind and moving beyond the bleeding edge of early-adopter status into the realm of everyday usability.
You’ll see a theme if you scroll back the last decade or so on MO: we have a thing for the Triumph Street Triple. After numerous rides and shootouts each time it gets updated, it’s safe to say we love that little 675cc three-cylinder. The sound it makes is outrageously cool, the power it delivers is fun without being overwhelming, and the overall package is an absolute blast. Yeah, the looks are kinda polarizing, but none of that matters once you twist the grip.
MV Agusta looks like it wants to turn the 1000 cc naked bike class on it ear. How so? Well, take a look at the 2019 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro. Based on the MV Agusta F4 RC, the Brutale 1000 looks to have the credentials to kick some serious street fighter butt.
From the moment the rumor mill first started hinting at KTM developing an 800cc parallel Twin way back in 2014, droves of performance-minded motorcyclists, myself included, have been salivating at the thought of throwing a leg over one. Stuffed into a light, nimble chassis, this engine could power what middleweight fans have been dreaming of for years: A razor-sharp instrument for dissecting any twisty road thrown at it.
I’ve owned class-leading motorcycles with plenty of tech and performance for many years, but my time at Motorcycle.com has taught me how much fun middleweight bikes can be. Like every other member of the staff here, I too get all hot under my leathers waiting for the latest technology to trickle down from MotoGP into production sportbikes or monstrous 1200-plus cc naked bikes that have enough torque to dislocate your arms. But sometimes riding a bike that’s not so extreme can be relieving and an absolute blast to scoot around on.
The Kawasaki Ninja 400 will soon be joined by a naked version, as the California Air Resources Board has certified a model bearing the designation ER400DK for 2019. Kawasaki has long used “ER” code for its naked Twins, and the new model will likely be sold as the 2019 Kawasaki Z400.
Okay so maybe I have grown a little bit jaded, ogling then hopping on all these exciting new models year after year, only to stumble across so many of them parked in the gutter a few years later with bald tires and faded paint. Like a grizzled combat veteran, you learn not to make new friends, to control your expectations. Lots of us were knocked for a loop by the Kawasaki Z900RS last year, and I was swept up in the rabble. Later, I felt the bike was a little too derivative of Kawasaki’s earlier work, too obviously grasping at middle-aged heartstrings. Ten minutes later the cool kids were slobbering all over the Vitpilen. I didn’t quite feel it, personally, and riding the bike a while ago didn’t convert me. Next.
Don’t be confused by the new appellation: The MT-07 is the same Yamaha FZ-07 that’s won every MO middleweight mashup we’ve thrown it in since it was new in 2014, beating up on all sorts of bikes since then, including the KTM Duke 690, all Suzuki SV650 variants, various Kawasaki 650 mutations, Hondas of diverse specification, the H-D Street Rod, et al.
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!
They’re both Open-class Japanese transverse inline four-cylinder standard bikes, a pair of motorcycles that have followed that divinely ordained orthodoxy since Saint Soichiro carried the streetbike tablets down from Mount Fuji nearly 50 years ago. One of them wants to transport you all the way back to relive that era; the other wants to take you back only ten years with its 2005 GSX-R-derived long-stroke engine. Many MO readers (and some MO writers) have already pledged their undying love for the Kawasaki Z900RS, and all of us agree the Suzuki GSX-S1000Z is no slouch. In fact, if horsepower is your measuring stick, the Suzuki buries the retro Kawasaki – but you have to work for it a bit more. Our question becomes, then, just how much performance are you giving up if you go retro, and is it worth it in the real world?
Haojue, Suzuki‘s Chinese partner, has filed a design patent for a new naked motorcycle to be called the “HJ300“. Considering the fact Haojue manufactures the GW250, GSX-250R and V-Strom 250 for Suzuki, the HJ300 may provide a preview of what a potential GSX-S300 may look like.
It took a while longer than we had hoped, but American Honda has finally announced the new Neo-Sports Café-inspired CB300R is coming to the United States as a 2019 model. At $4,649 for the base model and $4,949 with ABS, the 2019 Honda CB300R is priced $300 higher than the 2018 CB300F which it will replace.