Husqvarna’s new Vitpilen 401 is focused on “providing a pure riding experience.” Using a 373cc Single borrowed from KTM’s 390 Duke housed in a stripped-down layout with clip-on bars, Husky says it will appeal to “an entirely new generation of riders looking for an honest and highly accessible machine.”
With a pocketful of spy shots as proof, we sleuthy MOrons proudly scooped the news a few months ago that Ducati was planning to produce a new air-cooled Monster ( 2017 Ducati Monster 800 Spy Shots). Today at EICMA, Ducati presented the production version. The 2017 Monster 797 borrows the air-cooled 803cc L-Twin from Ducati’s Scrambler models and repackages it for use in its newest naked.
In case you haven’t heard, the 125cc class of streetbikes is hot. The Honda Grom kicked off the latest craze, which was followed this year by Kawasaki’s Z125 Pro, as well as a few entries from China. However, all but one of the entries have teenie 12-inch wheels, making the bikes feel a little less than full-grown.
Kawasaki announced a new R Edition version of the Z1000 for Europe but the future of the naked roadster remains unclear with a new Z900 model on the way. Kawasaki Europe will still offer the base model Z1000 for the 2017 model year but the R Edition may turn out to be a final production run special edition.
Yamaha launched a new series of naked motorcycles in 2013 with the three-cylinder MT-09 (a.k.a. the FZ-09 here in North America) earning strong reviews from the press and consumers. European consumers in particular took to the MT-09, making it one of Yamaha top-selling models in the continent. Now joined by a family of MT models ranging from 125cc to 1000cc, the MT-09 receives its first update, getting a quick shifter, assist & slipper clutch and (at last) improved suspension.
Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco has filed a design patent for a motorcycle based on Kawasaki‘s ER-6n. The design, filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, shows a motorcycle with a similar engine, swingarm and offset lay-down shock as the ER-6n and its faired sibling, the Ninja 650. The Kymco design has a different frame and bodywork than Kawasaki’s naked Twin.
How do we love the Triumph Speed Triple? Let us count the ways… one, two, three… ever since the original naked Triple showed up in, well not the original one, but the first aluminum-framed one that arrived on scene in 1997. That first real Speed Triple had various teething problems you can read all about in MO’s test here, but nigh on 20 years later all the bugs seem to be worked out, including the chrome bug-eye headlights of the original, which we still miss.
If you’ve read my 2017 Suzuki SV650 First Ride Review, you’ll know how I feel about the new SV. I’m a big fan of the new bike and feel that it’s recaptured the magic of the original SV. With its charismatic and refined 645cc V-Twin, I was instantly drawn to its fun-loving character, and now that Suzuki has wised up and given the bike an attractive – and competitive – $6,999 price tag, it’s clear Suzuki is answering the challenge thrown down from its crosstown rival, Yamaha, and the $6,990 FZ-07.
In his review of the 2016 KTM 690 Duke, Evans Brasfield gave the bike a score of 89.75%. That’s a strong score, to be sure, but I didn’t pay much attention to it since, frankly, I wanted to find out for myself. Well, I’ve finally had the chance to do so, as we’ve recently put the KTM up against the new Suzuki SV650, the Yamaha FZ-07, and a first-gen SV650 from 1999. That test will go up tomorrow, but in the meantime let me say that I concur with Evans’ rating. It’s a fun bike, but without giving too much away here in the opening paragraph, here are 10 features to like about the 2016 KTM 690 Duke.
There’s no disputing the Energica Eva is fast. With a claimed torque output of 125.4 lb-ft., Energica’s Eva makes the mighty KTM Super Duke R seem anemic (95.7 lb-ft. at 8,100 rpm). A rider twisting the Eva’s throttle to its stop finds himself on the other side of a wrinkle in time in a gearchange-less rush of quiet acceleration. Repeated often it could reverse the aging process. Or not, but it’s fun to try.
When Yamaha made new-model announcements at its big EICMA show shindig last fall, MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo rode onto the stage on the MT-10, an ultra-modern, anime-influenced streetfighter based on the seductive R1 supersport introduced the year prior. In the meantime, Yamaha has introduced the MT-10 to global markets while we have been left sitting on our hands waiting for the day when the American arm of the tuning-fork brand announces it will come to our shores.
Here at MO, we’ve made it perfectly clear Suzuki missed the boat with the Gladius, the awkwardly styled and poorly-named successor to the hugely popular SV650. A name change to SFV650 wasn’t enough to fool us, either. By virtue of its stellar engine, the SFV held its own in the various comparison tests we placed it in, but it fell a little short of being a true SV successor. Then factor in the exorbitant price tag the Gladius/SFV carried – up to $8,149 in 2014 – and Suzuki had a tall order trying to win back fans of the SV650.
Going into it we surmised the little Duke was going to be the sportier ride and the Honda the more practical one. Guess what, that’s how it shakes out. Having said that, though, the practical Honda is really pretty damn sporty and the sporty little cheap KTM is practical enough to be your commuter – if you’re not much taller than 5’10, anyway. It’s way more compact than the CB500F.