BMW announced its initial batch of models returning for 2018 with new colors and optional equipment. We’ve already written about the two most notable changes, a new ex works customization program called BMW Motorrad Spezial for RnineT and touring models, plus a new optional Bluetooth-connected 6.5-inch TFT display for the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure, called the “Connectivity Option.” Several models also receive Emergency Call feature, though this will only be available in Europe. The rest of the announcement includes cosmetic changes and revisions to BMW’s various optional packages
The Ducati Monster 1200S didn’t do so great against most of the other players in last year’s Super Naked Street Brawl, but mostly because two of the other four were our Motorcycle of the Year KTM Super Duke R and the BMW S1000R, which came within a whisker of overcoming the incredible SDR. The Monster suffered more in the track portion of that test than on the street, though, mainly let down by a lack of ground clearance when leaned into Chuckwalla’s endless high speed turns – a non-issue on the road. Back on the street, il Mostro was a highly pleasant thing to ride – as nearly all motorcycles are that deliver 84 pound-feet of torque. The 132 horses up top are like having your burrito wet.
Ducati’s selection of Scrambler models (Icon, Urban Enduro, Classic, Full Throttle) are modern interpretations of scramblers from Ducati’s past, but if you compare the now with the then, the new bikes bleed their heritage from most angles, with the V-Twin engine being the most obvious difference. The 803cc, air-cooled Twin provides the perfect amount of go power (69.6 hp at 8500 rpm and 46.5 lb.-ft. at 7000 rpm) for this retro-modern moto, easily spanking Triumph’s Scrambler offering.
Last but not least in BMW’s new line of liquid-cooled Boxers (and not even quite last since the RS variant will be here next year), is the lovely new thoroughly redesigned R1200R you see here. Where the GS and GS Adventure want you to dig out your Boy Scout neckerchief and head off into the boonies, and the RT wants you to abandon your life and make them all three-day weekends, the basic R is the bike for all reasons: This one’s designed to be great everyday urban transport but comfortable and capable enough for long distances with a passenger and luggage as well, and a reasonable dirt road wouldn’t be a problem either. It’s your basic Roadster, the most direct descendant of the first Boxer BMW built nigh-on 100 years ago.
Milan, Italy, hosts the world’s largest motorcycle show, EICMA, in November each year, where the latest and greatest motorbikes are on display, most of which are receiving their first public display. The Esposizione Mondiale del Motociclismo, as it’s officially called, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, and I was pleased to be one of the 6,945 journalists attending the November 3-8 event.