Tired of winter? Take heart, bike season is just around the corner.
Here are the highlights of models ready to go for 2013:
With an engine and frame derived from this company’s Grand Prix experiences, the RSV4 is powered by a 999-cc V-4 that develops a whopping 184 horsepower. New brake system, revised suspension geometry, traction control system and launch control are all available, making the RSV4 one of the fastest bikes out there. Not for beginners, this one joins the Caponard tourer.
Replacing the F650, the F700GS is one of the more versatile models in the BMW Motorrad stable. It works as a commuter, long-distance tourer and even a sport bike, if you’re not too demanding. Output from the 800-cc inline-two-cylinder engine is in the 75-hp neighbourhood, and it has a six-speed transmission and ABS as standard equipment.
This Italian company is reporting increased sales in North America, and the Multistrada 1200S Touring is one of its new models for 2013. A touring/sport bike, it has a 150-hp 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 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, this latter model is slammed (lowered) and chopped and features special paint and “Turbine” chrome wheels. Power is supplied by a Screaming 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 Goldwing stripped down for touring and cruising. Called the F6B, this is Honda’s legendary long-distance tourer minus a rear top box, with a cut-down windscreen, and less chrome. Result: a tough-looking boulevardier that is still arguably the best long-distance bike on the market. Also new from the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer: the CBR500 mid-size sport bike that comes 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, belt final drive and the 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 machine, leaning toward the supermotard side of things. High saddle height, long-distance fuel tank and room for a couple of rear saddlebags come standard.
The new Z1000 Special Edition is a “super naked” bike with a 1,043-cc inline-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 facelift is the Vaquero cruiser. With a 1,700-cc V-twin engine that develops 82 horsepower and 108 lb-ft of torque, this one is an all-day sucker, with gobs of reserve power and attitude to match.
My favourite Italian bike-maker has a couple of new models for 2013. They include a new updated California cruiser/custom that now has a 1,400-cc opposed V-Twin engine that is the largest of its kind anywhere. It’s good for 96 horsepower and can be found in either the touring or 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 the BV touring scooter, now propelled by a 350-cc single that has a purported top speed more than 135 km/h and, more to the point, will deliver at least 3.6 litres/100 km.
The company may be in trouble in the United States, but Suzuki Canada is definitely above-ground and, among other things, will bring forth the GSX650 middleweight sport bike, a GSX1250 superbike, a special-edition C50 cruiser, yet another bike with the full black-out treatment: the C90T Boss, an overhauled V-Strom 1000, and a revamped Gladius 650 standard. These latter two bikes may be among the most ride-able on the market.
With 126 hp at your fingertips now, the 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.
The all-day FJ1300A sport tourer now has a traction control system, cruise control as standard equipment, and Yamaha’s slick D-mode. In a nutshell, this allows you to choose your performance level that, according to Yamaha, “can be sportier or more relaxed depending on riding situations.” There is 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.