After a visit to the NEC Motorcycle Live Show at the beginning of December Ian Kerr takes a quick look at some of the latest bikes that might tempt your fancy in 2016…
Aprilla – Starting with the Italian brand Aprilia we now get the RSV4RF, the latest gestation of the RSV4 model which gets new graphics and revised Ohlins suspension. For the techno freaks it has a full-blown telemetry system that communicates with a smartphone to allow adjustments to the electronic items like traction control and anti-wheelie systems. If the near 200 bhp of this machine is not enough there is a Factory Works models complete with 230 bhp. But it is not cheap as you might expect!
Ariel – If you want something British-made the Ariel Ace comes with a basic price tag of £20,000. Then it is just a case deciding what you want in the way of suspension, tank size, bars, footrests etc, depending on whether you want the Sport or Cruiser version. The engine of course comes from Honda’s VFR 1200.
Bimota – If you want something really radical, Bimota have launched the Tesi3D Race Café powered by a Ducati 796 engine taken from the Monster. This futuristic bike though is long way from a normal factory machine, looking more like something out of a Sci-fi movie. And anybody interested in engineering solutions that are unconventional will absolutely love this hand-built machine.
BMW – BMW have made a killing over the past few years with off-road machines, so no surprise that the smaller F700 and 800GS models get a few cosmetic tweaks. Headline machine though is the new R nineT Scrambler which adds to the retro line-up of this air-cooled twin, but promising off-road fun with classic styling. Almost unnoticed at the NEC was their new G310R single cylinder with just 34bhp on tap. Designed in Munich it will be built by BMW’s Indian partner TVS. The bike has a 313cc single cylinder liquid cooled engine with a reverse cylinder head. Lots of other trick bits like inverted forks abound on this entry level BMW!
Ducati – Moving from Germany back to Italy, Ducati showed the new 959 Panigale which replaces the 899 version. Not only does the 959 have a bigger engine, the fairing is wider and, as you might expect there is enough electronic rider aids to allow you to ride like a WSB pro and then download your lap times and every aspect of your riding to delight (bore?) your friends.
Various other models get the odd tweak here and there, but it is the Enduro version of the long standing Multistrada that attracted most attention. The Enduro is the most extreme version of this big tourer which has been definitely orientated to the loose surfaces. However, selling at over £16,000 it will be only the very serious dirt rider who will be buying this machine to get down and dirty with!
Honda – Honda’s newly launched CRF1000L Africa Twin will do things just as well as Ducati’s Enduro and is round £,7000 cheaper for the base model. Whilst the all singing and dancing version weighs in around £4,000 less! Most of the other ‘new for 2016’ machines are basically reworked existing models from the 500 and 750 range.
Harley Davidson – On the other side of the pond, Harley Davidson showed their recently launched 750. An entry level machine for the brand, it is built in India, which is why they can sell it at £5,795. Not too bad to get yourself an American icon.
Indian – The reborn Indian brand was offering a new Scout Sixty aimed, like the Harley at hooking people into the brand with a cheaper machine.
Kawasaki – Kawasaki showed the latest ZX-10R which they claim is the closest machine yet to a full factory Superbike. Although similar in appearance to the old model it features a host of changes to the chassis, engine, electronics, brakes. In fact, very little has been left from the previous model. Given the electronics mentioned in the press release there are enough acronyms for a very good game of scrabble!
KTM – Austrian manufacturer KTM has come up with the 1290 Super Duke GT, a touring version of the previous 1290 Super Duke. Now heavily biased to touring, it should be able to give the BMW GS a run for its money with those who want to soak up miles on all sorts of roads. With plenty of accessories and the firm’s renowned off-road capabilities it is going to be high on the list of machine options.
Norton – For those wanting heritage British style, Norton showed the 961 Commando II which only real anoraks will be able to identify when stood against the first incarnation we saw five years ago!
Suzuki – In terms of claims, Suzuki went for the lightest, most powerful and best handling tags for their new GSX-R1000 which debuted at the show as a prototype. But expect it to be in the showrooms later this year. The new engine has variable timing amongst a whole range of electronic aids for better performance.
Moto Guzzi – Moto Guzzi have jumped on the retro train and exhibited a V9 Bobber and Roamer machine. But they still featuried their signature V-twin motors, as you might expect. However, their MGX21 Flying Fortress a full dress bagger, looks more sci-fi or Batman than stylish Italian.
Triumph – Coming back to the home team it is difficult to know what to mention in the Triumph range as there are so many models that have been upgraded for 2016. However, I suppose one should mention the Tiger Explorer range which have all had a major refresh presumably to go head to head against some of the other off-road machines already mentioned.
Yamaha – Last but not least it is Yamaha who continue to steal the show when talking about new models and sensible pricing structures. Star of their new line-up and probably the most significant of all the new models was undoubtedly the MT-10 – basically a stripped down naked R1. Based heavily on the YZF-R1S (American budget version) it offers sports bike performance with naked aggression and three riding modes.
As well as this headline machine, they have also come up with a naked R3 called the MT-03 as an entry level to the MT range. Not to mention a whole host of bikes that fall into their Sport Heritage range, like the XSR 900, for those who like something on the lines of a yard built specials, but do not have the time or facilities to build one.
As you can see from this brief round-up there is plenty of choice for 2016 – whatever your preferred style. What’smore, there even seems to be plenty of options for work – which should make the day a bit more fun.