Top 10 Anticipated Bikes Of 2014 Staff
by Staff

Another new year has begun, and with it comes a fresh crop of motorcycles to lust after. We’ve already gotten a jump on 2014 products with recent introductions such as MV Agusta’s rapier-like F3 800 and KTM’s beastly 1290 Super Duke R, plus a pair of exciting and capable Kawasaki literbikes, the Z1000 ABS streetfighter and the sporty-touring Ninja 1000 ABS.

Also see: Best Motorcycles of 2013

But there’s so much more to come in 2014! Of the ones we haven’t yet ridden, here are the 10 we’re most anxious to ride. In alphabetical order…

1. BMW R1200RT

What is it?
While the K1600GT is BMW’s ultimate expression of what a touring bike can be, the R1200RT is a BMW purist delight. The 2014 RT is the second model to utilize BMW’s new precision-cooled Boxer engine. But that’s not all that’s changed on the RT, as E-i-C Kevin Duke points out in this video from the 2013 EICMA show. The R1200RT has been one of our favorite sport-touring bikes and the 2014 version is sure to continue that affection.

Why are we excited to ride it?
BMW’s new 1170cc Twin introduced in the R1200GS model last year has a 15-horsepower boost over the last model, producing a claimed 125 hp at 7700 rpm. Torque is also up, producing 92.2 ft-lb at 6500 rpm, up from 89 ft-lb at 6000 revs. There’s also a new K1600GT-inspired look and a number of desirable factory-installed options. We’ve been waiting to ride this bike since conducting our 2013 Sport-Touring Shootout 1.0 (at that time we didn’t think we’d have to wait this long). The FJR1300 won that contest and now that the R1200RT is coming, we’ll be pitting it against the new RT Beemer and the Triumph Trophy SE – ASAP!

2. Ducati Monster 1200

What is it?
Ducati might’ve fallen into the annals of sadly defunct motorcycle manufacturers if not for the Monster series that debuted 20 years ago. The formula of a comfortably upright riding position combined with a sportbike-derived chassis has found more than 275,000 homes over the years, a massive number for a niche OEM like Ducati.

The 2014 Monster 1200 continues the stripped-down theme of its predecessors but adds more displacement and the many-fold benefits of liquid cooling. A V-Twin powerplant based on the Multistrada/Diavel engine bolted to a trellis frame is familiar, but with as much as 145 crankshaft-rated horsepower and a chassis twice as torsionally stiff as the departed 1100 EVO Monster, the latest iteration is endowed with more performance than ever. Making it a bit less monstrous is standard traction control, adjustable ABS, a significantly taller handlebar and extended 18,000-mile valve-adjustment intervals. Riders of various sizes are accommodated by a height-adjustable saddle (30.9 to 31.8 inches), while TFT color instrumentation helps bring the vintage archetype into the modern age. More details can be found in this report from EICMA.

Also see: Ducati Monster 1200 First Impressions – Video

Why are we excited to ride it?
Combine 145 hp and 92.0 ft-lb of torque with a ready-to-ride curb weight of 460 pounds, and the Monster 1200 S ($15,995) will surely be thrilling beneath an exuberant right wrist. The non-S Monster 1200 retails for $2,500 less but makes do with 10 fewer horses, 5 ft-lb less torque and a Kayaba/Sachs suspension rather than the S’s Ohlins components. The extra torque from the bigger engine should counteract a wheelbase 2.4 inches longer than the previous M1100, likely yielding a predictable wheelie machine. The stiffer chassis should keep its wheels in line during aggressive steering inputs. We expect big grins.

3. EBR 1190RX

What is it?
The EBR 1190RX is the production sportbike Erik Buell has always wanted to make. Sure, there was the 1190RS before it, but there’s only 35 of them and they cost nearly 50-large ($46,495). The 1190RX is a new version of the RS designed for larger-scale production and boasts technology like 21-level traction control, full-color TFT instrumentation, an LED headlight and the use of magnesium to keep weight down to 419 lbs. ready-to-ride (minus fuel). The big difference between the RX and RS is the much more reasonable price tag: $18,995.

Why are we excited to ride it?
Two numbers: 185 and 102. Those are the respective horsepower and torque (in ft-lb) figures the 1190RX is reported to deliver. To finally ride Erik Buell’s master creation — one built without the constraints of The Motor Company — will be exciting in itself. Buell has always thought outside the box, and we’ve always liked the sweet-handling chassis Buells have been known for. If the 1125R was a taste of what was to come, then the 1190RX has us truly foaming at the mouth. We were saddened when Buell closed its doors and were cautiously optimistic when EBR then opened. So in this particular case, we’re excited about more than just a motorcycle, we’re excited about potentially realizing the American sportbike dream come to life.

4. H-D Street 500/750

What is it?
Harley-Davidson has ended its 13-year hiatus from producing an all-new motorcycle platform in a big way with the announcement of its Street 500 and Street 750 line. Using new liquid-cooled 60° Revolution X V-Twin engines, the H-D Street motorcycles are aimed at younger urban riders. Read our EICMA coverage about the Street 500/750 to learn about how the new platform carries both the Harley lineage (in Dark Custom clothes) across the globe and into a more performance-oriented market while keeping the price below that of the least expensive Sportster. The Street 500 retails for just $6,699, while the 750cc version is priced at $7,499.

Why are we excited to ride it?
These bikes show that Harley-Davidson isn’t content to sit back and cater to just its greying core market. The Motor Company has stepped up to embrace both the future of motorcycling (stricter emissions regulations and world markets) and the features necessary to attract a younger crowd, whose values are slightly different from the bar-and-shield traditionalists. The result of consulting with riders worldwide is a bike line with improved performance and handling yet an achievable entry point into the Harley clan. Don’t forget the importance of spreading the formidable American brand into overseas markets that are not as open to Harley’s Big Twin motorcycles. Editor-in-Chief Duke puts it all in perspective in his EICMA video notes about the Street line. The Street 500 and 750 point the way to Harley’s future, and we can’t wait to see what else that holds.

5. Honda CTX1300

What is it?
The second bike in the CTX line of Hondas almost doubles the displacement of the original CTX700. Although based on the same Comfort Technology eXperience concept, the CTX1300 is looking towards a slightly different rider. Where the 700 was seeking to appeal to folks who may not have ridden before, the 1300 leverages the ST1300-derived V-4 engine to create a sportier touring version of the CTX for experienced riders. The family bone structure remains the same from the long-nosed fairing and shorty windshield to the integrated hard bags. While Honda sees this bike as an entry point to its premium touring line of motorcycles, it appears to straddle an interesting line between standard motorcycles and cruisers – offering some of the appeal of both classes.

Why are we excited to ride it?
Did you read the part where it has a ST1300 engine? The retuned liquid-cooled 1261cc longitudinally mounted powerplant will deliver tons of torque from the bottom end all the way through the rpm range. Also, we’re always interested when a manufacturer produces a line of motorcycles that enflames both positive and negative passions, and the CTX has evoked strong opinions on both sides. This is a clear sign that something is being done right but just differently enough to stress out less flexible perspectives. Think about a sport-touring motorcycle with a cruiserish riding position, a rare V-4 powerplant, and a stylishly aggressive look with integrated saddlebags. You can learn more about the VTX1300 in our preview article or watch the Dukester’s video impressions from EICMA.

6. KTM RC390

What is it?
Inspired by its Moto3 championship-winning Grand Prix racers, KTM has now developed a line of small-displacement road-going sportbikes for the masses: the RC125, RC200, and RC390. While the first two are targeted towards European and Asian markets, KTM will eventually bring the RC390 stateside, where it could compete with the likes of Honda’s CBR250/300, the Kawasaki Ninja 300, or even the Honda CBR500R. KTM claims horsepower and torque figures in the ballpark of 43 and 25 ft-lb, respectively, from the 373cc Single.

Why are we excited to ride it?
We have a soft spot in our hearts for small-displacement sportbikes. Something about maximizing corner speed while having minimal fear of a throttle-induced highside appeals to us. Unlike the Japanese models mentioned earlier, which appeal to beginning or re-entry riders, the only beginners the RC390 welcomes are beginning road racers. With its lightweight steel trellis frame, steep steering head, short wheelbase, WP suspension, and Brembo brakes, the RC390 has all the makings for a sportbike that should handle with scalpel-like precision. It should also appeal to road racers young and old. The downside is that we likely won’t see it on our shores until late in the year.

7. Mission Motorcycles R/RS

What is it?
An electric motorcycle worthy of the superbike distinction, the Mission Motorcycles R ($29,999, before Federal credits*) and RS ($58,999, before Federal credits*) models have the potential to raise the bar when it comes to motorcycling — electric or otherwise. A 120kW motor has the ability to produce 160 horses and 120 ft-lb of torque. Combine that with either a 12kWh, 15kWh, or 17kWh battery pack, the James Parker-designed chassis, Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension, and a loaded electronics suite that includes traction control, and you have a superbike whose closest competition burns fossil fuel, not electrons.

Why are we excited to ride it?
Any motorcycle capable of lapping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca within 10 seconds of a MotoGP machine is worthy of our attention. When said motorcycle is electric, that perks our eyebrows just a little bit more. What Mission has done with its superbikes is deliver top-level performance in an entirely new way. We here at MO are tried and true petrolheads, but we anxiously await the opportunity to finally throw a leg over a Mission at a trackday.

Throw in the $2,750 Tech Package that includes an integrated HD camera with a telemetry overlay, turn-by-turn GPS navigation, a wireless helmet with a heads-up display and an ultra-fast twin charger, and the R or RS becomes that much more unique and appealing. Mission claims a “city range” of about 170 miles, meaning it’s more than just a track toy – it can be used as a daily vehicle, too, with minimal instances of range anxiety. There’s a lot of pressure on Mission to deliver. We’re anxious to see if it does.

* Federal credits for electric vehicles officially ended on January 1st, but we expect them to be reenacted at some point to help promote this fledgling industry’s growth.

8. MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800/Lusso

What is it?
It’s the first sporty and fully faired sport-touring motorcycle from an Italian company since Ducati’s sadly departed ST series and the Aprilia Futura were killed off almost a decade ago. MV’s Turismo Veloce (“touring speed,” roughly) utilizes the endearing and charismatic 800cc Triple first seen in the Brutale 800 and most recently in the F3 800, but in this new guise cloaked for day-long comfort in the saddle over many miles. The retuned 798cc Triple is rated at 125 hp, which, combined with only about 450 pounds of weight, is said to yield the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.

Why are we excited to ride it?
We’re expecting MV to have more naturally tuned throttle responses by the time the Turismo Veloce rolls off the production line late this year with the 2.0 version of its MVICS electronics and a new Mikuni fuel-injection system. The TV800 is layered with a suite of touring accoutrements like a 5-inch TFT color instrument display (the largest ever on two wheels), a next-generation quickshifter that allows clutch-less upshifts and downshifts and an LED headlight. Upgrading to the Lusso version includes a semi-active suspension, hardshell saddlebags and heated grips. Given these specs, it’s difficult to imagine a more entertaining motorcycle on which to dissect a twisty road headed toward the next state. Or the one after.

9. Suzuki V-Strom 1000

What is it?
Introduced in 2002, the V-Strom 1000 was a cross-tourer before cross-tourers were cool. Now, after a brief hiatus, Suzuki is reintroducing a completely redesigned V-Strom 1000 with a larger displacement 1037cc engine that’s said to be lighter than the previous 996cc powerplant. For 2014 the V-Strom 1000 will be available in its standard form for $12,699 as well as the Adventure version for a $1,300 increase.

Why are we excited to ride it?
With bikes such as Ducati’s Multistrada and KTM’s new 1190 Adventure hovering around the $17k price range, we’re excited to see how the V-Strom stacks up against these two Euro cross-tourers while owning a significantly lower MSRP. Years ago, the V-Strom was outclassed in terms of performance against similar machines, but the price difference was huge back in 2006 when the V-Strom retailed for only $9k. At $12,700 the price gap isn’t as much, but it’s also an all-new Strom. Pitting the V-Strom against the new Adventure and Multistrada is a dish best served sooner rather than later. You can read about new V-Strom’s highlights here.

10. Zero SR

What is it?
A hopped-up version of the Zero S, the SR model boasts 56% higher torque and 24% more power thanks to a higher-capacity motor controller. In addition, the SR, along with the rest of the Zero street lineup, gets a beefier, 43mm fork, revised shock, and a tweaked chassis for more rigidity. S and SR models also get a wider 140mm rear tire.

Why are we excited to ride it?
Because the e-bike industry has been progressing leaps and bounds during its relative infancy and Zero has been a pioneer in the field. Year after year the products are significantly better than their predecessors, and Zero isn’t showing any signs of letting up. The SR, with its 67 hp, 106 ft-lb, and up to 171 (claimed) city miles should go a long way in easing fears about range anxiety while helping to sway public opinion about electric motorcycles from toys to legitimate vehicles. Not only that, but the SR also promises to be a genuinely fun motorcycle for a day in the canyons. Who wouldn’t be excited about that? Staff Staff presents an unrivaled combination of bike reviews and news written by industry experts

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3 of 31 comments
  • Arcsine Arcsine on Mar 07, 2014

    >It’s the first sporty and fully faired sport-touring motorcycle from an
    Italian company since Ducati’s sadly departed ST series and the Aprilia
    Futura were killed off almost a decade ago.

    Um... Moto Guzzi Norge.

    • Kevin Duke Kevin Duke on Mar 22, 2014

      Good point! Given Guzzi's tepid sales in America, at least for the Norge, I'll guess I wasn't the only one who forgot about it! That said, I like the Norge and will look forward to getting another one for testing in the coming months.

  • Bill Myers Bill Myers on Mar 12, 2014

    The electric bikes are still B.S. Look 120-170 miles aren't bad, it's the "fuel up" issue. Look, even if you have a bike that's only good for 100 miles, it takes about a minute to refuel. I think the shortest "fuel up" for electric bikes is 5 hours... So 120-170 miles isn't in reality any range at all...