Since its initial release, the Yamaha FZ-09 has garnered praise for having tremendous bang-for-the-buck. In fact, MO readers named it Reader’s Choice Best Value Bike Of 2015. However, there were still some heretics that felt the grunty Triple didn’t quite live up to its potential. The common refrain was, “Why on earth should an owner need to flash the EFI and upgrade the suspension to get a bike that performs like it should out of the box?”
The last time Triumph conducted a major revamp of its Street Triple family was 2013. At that press launch Triumph didn’t feel it necessary to include any track time because even the uptown R model remained predominantly a street bike. Four years on and Triumph has reshuffled the Street Triple deck and expanded the portfolio to three models (S, R, RS), each with a specific focus including the new performance leader RS model we just finished testing in Spain. While still largely a street bike, the RS features enough go-fast performance Triumph felt compelled to showcase the bike’s wherewithal around one of the most famous Spanish racetracks, Catalunya.
While Americans are still waiting for Yamaha to grace our shores with its MT-03/FZ-03, customers in India have another new small-displacement FZ model coming their way. Introduced this week by India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd., the FZ25 is designed specifically for the Indian market as an upgrade over the existing 150cc FZ and FZ-S. Yamaha expects to sell 40,000 units at a price of 119,500 rupees (about $1,755 US), a competitive price for the 250cc segment in India.
So far, we’ve had a hit-or-miss relationship when it comes to Chinese-built motorcycles. We were pleasantly surprised by the mini Ducati Monst…errr… SSR Razkull 125 when we rode it alone and amongst its peers in our 125cc Ankle Biters Shootout. The little playbike seemed to be put together moderately well and delivered impressive performance in the class, all for less than two-grand. For a price that low, we excused much of its shortcomings, especially compared to the almighty, but costly at $3,200, Honda Grom.
For anyone who held out purchasing a Triumph Street Triple on a hunch the current model was being replaced by a newer, faster, better, more powerful version, you were right to do so. Today Triumph launched three new versions of the popular mid-displacement Triple, and by the looks of it, the new model appears poised to dominate a niche occupied by only the MV Agusta Brutale 800 and Yamaha FZ-09.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then SSR most really be trying to suck up to the Italians. First it was the Razkull 125, the miniature playbike that looks like someone stuck a Ducati Monster 796 in the dryer for too long. Now it’s this, the SSR Buccaneer Cafe, which resembles another Italian: the Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello.
Triumph has released a video teasing what looks to be a new Street Triple. The video, titled “The Street Will Never Be The Same Again,” offers a few tantalizing glimpses of the new bike along with this description: “Once in a generation, a motorcycle comes along that changes everything, that sets a new benchmark in power, weight, handling, looks and completely tears up the rule book.”
If you’re wondering how important the small-displacement segment is to BMW, here’s a figure to chew on: Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad’s Head of Design, estimates, on a global scale, its current model lineup, excluding the G310R, appeals to approximately one million motorcycle shoppers. This means motorcycle consumers are buying bikes in segments BMW currently is present in. That includes everything from the G650GS on the low end, all the way to the K1600GTL at the other extreme.
Triumph’s updated Speed Triple, specifically the “S” base model, already impressed us tremendously once this year, when it finished second to the all-conquering Aprilia Tuono Factory in our little six-bike comparo jaunt up the coast of California in August. You could argue the Triumph won that one, really, since the Tuono’s $17K price tag has it really in a different category than the $13,200 Triumph (though the Speed Triple also came out on top of the $16,395 Ducati Monster 1200 S).
By now, we’ll assume you’ve read the Part 1 of the Ankle Biters test, wherein we asked some newer riders to ride the Honda Grom, Kawasaki Z125 Pro, Kymco K-Pipe 125, and SSR Motorsports Razkull 125. Their job was to give us feedback as to which bike makes the best learner for the absolute noob because it’s been awhile since any of the MO staff could call themselves one. Our riders had a lot of fun with the test, but as for us MOrons, we wanted a bit more excitement once we got a chance to throw a leg over the quartet.
The principality of Monaco is an imbecilic location for a motorcycle ride. After all, the independent microstate on the French Riviera isn’t even twice as big as the Dodger Stadium grounds, and its teeny little streets are crammed almost solid with a cornucopia of vehicles from two-stroke scooters to the apparently riotously amusing Renault Twizys to exotic McLarens to horrifyingly huge Rollers.
Here’s a number to consider: 382. Kawasaki says that’s the percentage the naked motorcycle market has increased since 2011. For comparison, the sportbike market has stayed relatively stagnant during the same time period. With that kind of popularity in a particular segment, it’s no wonder motorcycle manufacturers like Kawasaki are trying to grab a piece of that pie.
EICMA and Intermot have come and gone and the question on most American consumers’ minds is which of the wonderful new models will be making their way to the U.S.? Today, Kawasaki answered their part of the question, confirming the ZX-10RR, Ninja 1000, Ninja 650, Z900, Z650 and the Versys-X 300 for the U.S. market.
On the surface, the 2017 Honda CBR650F and its naked sibling the CB650F don’t look much different than their 2016 versions apart from their new graphic schemes. The overall visual design, including their oh-s0-sexy cascading header pipes are back, and the underslung silencer has only a slightly different shape. Underneath the familiar skin, however, are a few updates that further refine Honda’s two 650 models.
Kawasaki tipped its cap at Intermot last month about its upcoming Z650 and Z900 nakeds. It was an odd strategy, releasing a couple of images and what looks to be an early draft of its EICMA press release. Well, now the Milan show is finally here and Kawasaki has officially confirmed the two models.