BMW has made no secret about plans to produce a new 1800cc cruiser. The company has confirmed as much, and commissioned several concept models built around the massive boxer engine. Heck, BMW France is already taking orders, based only on the R18 Concept BMW showed off in May at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
A week after announcing its 2020 Scout lineup, Indian announces its updated air-cooled cruiser and touring model lineup, including an upgrade to a larger Thunder Stroke 116 engine for select models, a new Ride Command infotainment system, a redesigned Springfield Dark Horse. a new Roadmaster Dark Horse and the return of the Chieftain Elite.
When I first saw Indian’s photos of the updated Chieftain line, I immediately thought of the presentation during the 2015 Indian Scout introduction. During his speech, Gary Gray, Indian Motorcycle Product Director, said that with Indian’s initial models under Polaris ownership, “we needed to earn the right to change the brand. So, how do you earn the right? You pay the deepest respects you can for the brand, and you pay honor to the people that came before you, and you build a bike that people clearly will see as an Indian.” All of the Indian models prior to the Scout were classically styled in a way that harkened back to the company’s early history, the nod to the past that Gray referred to.
Not many manufacturers can say they’ve had a model in continuous production for 43 years, but Honda can make that claim with their legendary Gold Wing. Over those model years, Honda has set aside just six versions representing what it calls milestone models – the last of which was produced way back in 2001 with the introduction of the GL1800 Gold Wing. The Wing has been well overdue for an upgrade, and the rumor mill was in full-on salivation mode about the prospects of a ground-up remake for 2018.
Oliepiel in the Netherlands has posted what are reportedly leaked shots of the new long-anticipated Honda Gold Wing, and what could be a new F6B-type bagger. The photos definitely have a legitimate look; the bikes appear to be finished products and ready to roll on October 24, which would mean these are what Honda was teasing with its “What Lies Beyond” video we posted on 9/11 (which features an original GL at the end).
As we predicted, Yamaha revealed a new touring model based on its new Star Venture called the “Star Eluder.” Essentially a Star Venture without the trunk and a smaller windscreen, the Star Eluder also lacks some of the Venture’s more luxury features, bringing it in at a lower price point at $22,499, with a GT Option package bumping the price to $23,999 (the Star Venture starts at $24,999 with a Transcontinental Option package adding another $2,000 to the sticker).
What’s a “bagger” anyway? I may not have been aware of the term as it applies to motorcycles until I saw a copy of Baggers on the newsstand, back when we had those (newsstands). They really were the rage there for a while and maybe still are. I mean, what’s better for the average Joe America Motorcyclist than a hot-rod Harley with integrated hard bags to transport your stuff in? A bike with a windshield you can go places on but still be cool, man. Especially if you can crank up a little Molly Hatchet en route. Hot mamas in bikinis will be lining up to pose on your bike for photography.
Yamaha has the FJR1300 and FJ-09 to cover the sport-touring segment, and its Super Ténéré can add some adventure to a rider’s tour. Then there’s the V Star 1300s for cruisers with some touring amenities. But what’s missing is a luxurious tourer that can muscle in on Harley’s extensive touring lineup or even on Honda’s venerable Gold Wing.
Recently, our own John Burns traveled to Daytona to hitch a ride aboard the alphabet soup that is the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special FLHRXS. In his story, JB noted the Road King made it’s debut in 1994 – the same year the very site you’re reading right now was born. With that in mind, this week’s Church feature goes back in the vault to 1996 and the earliest story we could find about the Harley Road King in the MO archives. In reading Tom Fortune’s review of the Road King, the bike sounds antiquated even when it was brand new. Though some might scoff that today’s Harley’s haven’t changed, if Tom Fortune could ride the 2017 Road King, he’d be blown away by its fit and finish. It’s definitely interesting to see where we’ve come in the last two decades. Read on to take yourself back in time.
Harley’s new Street Rod was our excuse to go to Daytona last week, but while we were there we got to ride The MoCo’s new Road King Special too. Okay, so, yeah, the Street Rod was a bit underwhelming, but it would be fun to sit all the commenters heaping abuse upon H-D for that bike on one of its FLs for about a 10-minute ride. I think it would shut most of them right up. Well, actually it probably wouldn’t. I think we’ve all learned how hard it is to unseat deep-rooted preconceptions lately.