Motorcycle companies rev up with new bikes
In case you missed the Vancouver Motorcycle Show back in January, here are some highlights of models ready to go for 2013.
With an engine and a frame derived from the company’s Grand Prix experiences, the Aprilia RSV4 is powered by a 999-cc V-4 that develops a whopping 184 horsepower. A new brake system, revised suspension geometry, a traction-control system, and a launch control are all available, making the RSV4 one of the fastest bikes out there. Not for beginners, this one joins the Caponord tourer.
Replacing the F650, the F700GS is one of the more versatile models in the BMW Motorrad stable. It works as a commuter, a long-distance tourer, and even a sport bike if you’re not too demanding. Output from the 798-cc in-line two-cylinder engine is in the 75-horsepower neighbourhood, and it has a six-speed transmission and ABS as standard equipment.
The Italian company Ducati is reporting increased sales in North America, and the Multistrada 1200 S Touring is one of its new models for 2013. Kind of a touring/sport bike, it has a 150-horsepower twin that allows you to set it to one of four “modes” to handle a variety of riding conditions, including long-distance touring.
It’s relatively quiet at Harley-Davidson HQ in Milwaukee these days. There’s a restyled FXDB Street Bob, and a killer custom treatment of the Softail from the company’s CVO division. Called the Breakout, the latter model is slammed (lowered) and chopped, and features special paint and “Turbine” chrome wheels. Power is supplied by a Screamin’ Eagle V-twin engine displacing 1.8 litres mated to a six-speed transmission.
Here’s one of those “it’s about time” things: a Honda Gold Wing stripped down for touring and cruising. Called the F6B, this is Honda’s legendary long-distance tourer without a rear top box and with a cut-down windscreen and less chrome. Result: a tough-looking boulevardier that’s still arguably the best long-distance bike on the market. Also new from the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer: the CBR500 midsize sport bike in a variety of models, and a Giorno 50-cc city scooter.
Very much alive and kicking and now owned by Polaris Industries, Indian has four bikes for 2013, including the Dark Horse, which is powered by an air-cooled 105-cubic-inch V-twin and has a six-speed transmission, a belt final drive, and fully black matte treatment. Indian is describing this particular bike as “bold and beastly”.
Equally beastly but in a different way is the new KTM 1190 RC8R. Normally associated with long-distance enduro events such as the Dakar Rally, KTM has branched out, and this formidable sport bike develops 175 horsepower and joins the 990 Supermoto T, which is a completely different kind of bike, leaning toward the supermotard side of things. High saddle height, a long-distance fuel tank, and room for a couple of rear saddlebags come standard.
Kawasaki’s new Z1000 Special Edition is a “super naked” bike with a 1,043-cc in-line four-cylinder that has more power than the previous version. Kawasaki is coy about horsepower numbers with its sport bikes, but you just know this one is fast. Also getting a bit of a face-lift is the Vaquero cruiser. With a 1,700-cc V-twin engine that develops some 82 horsepower and 108 foot-pounds of torque, this one is an all-day sucker, with gobs of reserve power and attitude to match.
My favourite Italian bike maker, Moto Guzzi, has a couple of new models for 2013. The updated California cruiser/custom now has a 1,400-cc opposed V-twin engine that’s the largest of its kind anywhere. It’s good for some 96 horsepower and can be found in both the touring and custom versions of the California. It joins a new V7 Stone middleweight powered by a 744-cc V-twin with 50 horsepower on tap.
Look for a new version of Piaggio’s BV touring scooter, now propelled by a 350-cc single that has a purported top speed of over 135 kilometres per hour and, more to the point, will deliver at least 3.6 litres per 100 kilometres.
They may be in trouble in the U.S., but Suzuki Canada is definitely aboveground and, among other things, will bring forth the GSX650 middleweight sport bike, a revised GSX1250, a special-edition C50 cruiser, an overhauled V-Strom 1000, a revamped Gladius 650 standard, and yet another bike with the full black-out treatment—the C90T Boss. The latter two bikes may be among the most rideable on the market.
With some 126 horsepower at your fingertips, the Triumph Daytona gets more power, loses a little weight, receives a new exhaust system, gets an ABS system that can be disabled for track duty, and has new frame components. Still goes like hell, too.
Yamaha’s all-day FJ1300A sport tourer now has a traction-control system, cruise control as standard equipment, and the company’s slick D-mode. In a nutshell, this allows you to choose your performance level, which, according to Yamaha, “can be sportier or more relaxed depending on riding situations”. There’s also a new V-Star 1300 cruiser/tourer and a cute little Vino 50 scooter that should take you at least 200 kilometres per tank of gas.