ARE YOU FEELING A LITTLE LIKE SYLVESTER STALLONE’S Rocky? We sure are. After suffering through an economic catastrophe that beat the snot out of everyone for 11 rounds, the country made a comeback and knocked the recession on its keister. Yeah, we've emerged from the battle with a broken nose and two black eyes, and the ache from three years' worth of punches in the gut won't entirely go away for a while.
Ooops! We were just about to wrap up this year’s Buyer s Guide and "put it to bed" when press releases arrived informing us of four more new models. It was much too late to insert them into the 80-page new-model listings that begin on page 26, and we obviously didn't want to omit them altogether, so we have included them here.
EXPLORATION IS AN INHERENT PART of human nature. It's been the catalyst for every important geographic discovery homo sapiens has made since we first figured out how to walk upright. That may help explain why the adventure-touring category of motorcycles currently is one of the hottest.
TEN YEARS AGO, APRILIA made hooligan riders of the world absolutely giddy with the original Tuono, a motorcycle that redefined the term "naked superbike." Aprilia created that first Tuono by taking the RSV Mille V-Twin superbike, stripping it of its bodywork and bolting on a wide, tubular handlebar.
Familiar Italian passion with clean-sheet thinking
IF YOU’RE A DUCATISTA, you’ve got to be excited. Sweaty palms, heavy breathing, the whole “I can’t wait” enchilada. Ducati has built its first all-new superbike in more than 30 years, and everyone with even the faintest interest in Italian sporting motorcycles is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see one in the flesh.
MOTORCYCLE MANUfacturers don’t talk about reincarnation, but we’re seeing it in action here. The 2012 G650GS Sertão is nothing less (or much more) than a reactivation of the popular, long-running F650GS Dakar dual-sport Single.
KAWASAKI HAS DONE it again. The 2012 ZX-14R may look a lot like its predecessor, the "R"-less ZX-14, but it is far from a minor restyle. Nope, what Kawasaki has done here is produce the most-powerful and fastest-accelerating production motorcycle ever built.
WHEN IT COMES to having soul, Triumph's three-cylinder engines shut James Brown right down and make you wonder why everyone doesn't make Triples. But that bodes well for the company's latest adventure model, the Tiger Explorer. It’s powered by an all-new, 1215cc, six-speed inline-Three—the biggest, most powerful Triple the Hinckley factory has ever put into a bike that's not a Rocket III. Unfortunately, the Explorer wasn't available to ride at presstime; but if it turns out to be anything like the Tiger 800XC, it will prove a worthy opponent for the big-bore competition in the adventure category.
APE-HANGER BIKES are everywhere these days, and so are baggers. It was only a matter of time, then, before one of the manufacturers took the next step, melding machines from these bookends of the spectrum as Victory has with its new Hard-Ball.
DESPITE WHAT SOME people claim, traction control is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. But for riders who love to slice corners, it can be one of the best technologies ever developed. TC has revolutionized the way high-performance motorcycles put their power to the ground; and with its 2012 YZF-R1, Yamaha becomes the second Japanese manufacturer to include it as standard equipment.
Aprilia has delivered on its promise of producing a larger-displacement version of its 750cc engine, and the Dorsoduro chassis was first in line to get the new motor. What better recipient of improved power and performance than Aprilia's adventure-provoking, frolic-loving, head-turning, supermoto-inspired streetbike? We liked the 750cc version and can only imagine the endless smiles and miles of fun this stylish alternative to the traditional naked bike will offer. Be forewarned, though: Keeping the front wheel down and your license intact just got harder.
RSV 4 Factory SE
For uncompromising track purists, the Factory SE version of Aprilia's V-Four superbike uses a fork, shock and adjustable steering damper all from Öhlins, along with forged aluminum rims and a Special Edition paint scheme. The SE is also equipped with an APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) System that features traction control, wheelie control, launch control and the Aprilia Quick Shift system, all of which can be configured and deactivated independently. No wonder Max Biaggi won the 2010 World Superbike Championship on an Aprilia.
RSV 4 R
Whether you're grinding knee sliders on the racetrack or tearing up your favorite backroad, the razor-sharp Aprilia is the right tool for the job. This track-bred racer-replica has an incredibly compact stature, competitive power output and unmatched liter-class agility, all while possessing Italian style that is candy for the eyes and a V-Four exhaust song that is music to the ears. As with the Factory SE model, the R edition also includes the APRC system and its cutting-edge electronic aids that provide enhanced performance and rider safety.
Tuono V 4 R
Based on the championship-winning RSV 4 superbike, the Tuono delivers hardcore engine and chassis performance in an ergonomically friendly layout that places its rider in an upright sporting posture. The Tuono is more than a naked superbike, however, as its engine tuning emphasizes increased torque and smoother delivery with greater crankshaft inertia and shortened ratios in the first three gears. As with its V-Four superbike siblings, the Tuono features APRC, as well as track-quality suspension, brakes and tires.
Mana 850 GT ABS
The addition of a GT-style half-fairing with an adjustable windshield has taken the rider-friendly Mana 850 concept to the next level, making this innovative machine a standout performer, whether in daily use as a commuter or for longer rides and even short trips. Continental's latest-generation two-channel ABS system combines with Aprilia's fully automatic seven-speed Sport-gear electronically controlled sequential gearshifting system to result in a motorcycle that is certain to appeal to riders of practically all ability levels.
Naked bikes are versatile by nature, and the sporty Shiver shakes up the recipe with a mix of Italian style and broad-range usability. The daily commute just doesn't get any more enjoyable, while weekend backroad work is a boldfaced bullet-point of the Shiver's resume. Residing in the engine bay is a liquid-cooled, 749cc, 90-degree V-Twin featuring a ride-by-wire throttle system that allows a choice of three rider-selectable delivery profiles. The chassis is made up of a tubular-steel-trellis element and aluminum pieces, and it's fitted with a single-shock rear suspension and an inverted fork carrying a pair of powerful radial-mounted brake calipers.
With its 450 dual-purpose model already street-legal in all 50 states, Beta found it easy to produce a line of supermoto bikes. The 450 SM is powered by the company's own Italian-made, electric-start, twin-cam four-valve engine. The engine and transmission each have separate oil supplies with individual pumps. A 45mm Marzocchi inverted fork and a Sachs shock offer 11.4 inches of travel at both ends. Pirelli rubber is mounted to 17-inch spoked rims front and rear. Also available: The 350 and 520 SMs, the same bikes but with different displacements.
450 RS/350 RS/520 RS
Exclusive to the U.S., Beta's RS models are serious dual-purpose bikes that are street-legal in all 50 states. A chrome-moly-steel, double-cradle frame surrounds the 450 RS's liquid-cooled, twin-cam, four-valve four-stroke engine, which is now built in-house. Despite all of its street-legal equipment, however, the 450 is a very capable off-roader, thanks in part to its 45mm Marzocchi fork, fully adjustable Sachs shock and the rest of its enduro-proven chassis. Also available: The 350 RS and 520 RS, the same machines as the 450 but with different displacements.
450 RR/350 RR/400 RR/498 RR
Beta’s competition-ready enduro lineup was the first to feature the engine designed and built in-house at the company’s factory just outside Florence, Italy. The newly updated, quieter-running motor has four-valve heads, magnesium engine covers, vibration-reducing counterbalancers, separate oil reservoirs for engine and transmission, and electric starting. The chassis consists of a heavily gusseted steel frame, an aluminum swingarm, a 48mm Sachs fork, a Sachs shock, Braking wave discs and Nissin calipers. Also available: The 350 RR, 400 RR and 498 RR, the very same motorcycles except for displacement.
EVO 4-Stroke 300/250
One by one, manufacturers of trials bikes have developed four-stroke machines, and Beta's latest is the EVO 300 4-Stroke. It's powered by an extremely light and compact, single-overhead-cam, liquid-cooled four-valve motor. The ultra-light chassis involves a slim aluminum frame with a backbone that doubles as a fuel tank. Also available: The EVO 4-Stroke 250, essentially the very same observed-trials motorcycle but with a 47cc-smaller engine. Amazingly, both the 250 and the 300 are comparable in weight to their EVO two-stroke siblings.
EVO 2T 300/250/200/125
As it does with its four-stroke trials models, Beta calls its top-of-the-line two-stroke trialers EVO. Boasting the largest engine displacement of the four models, the EVO 300 has a fuelbearing, big-backbone aluminum frame, just like on the 4-Stroke, and the swingarm is strong and light. The 300 showcases Beta’s expertise in building high-quality trials machines that have won numerous world championships. Also available: The EVO 250, 200 and 125, all of which are virtually identical to the 290 in every way except for displacement.
EVO 80 Senior/EVO 80 Junior/Minitrial
Trials riding is a great way to get kids started in motorcycling, as it teaches the fine points of balance and control at low speeds in a controlled environment. Beta's EVO 80 Senior is a great learning bike for young folk up to about 150 pounds, ideal for those "tweeners" in the family. It has all the features of the bigger machines, including a six-speed gearbox, full-size (21-inch front, 18-inch rear) wheels and disc brakes at both ends. Also available: The EVO 80 Junior, which has the physical dimensions of a 50 with an 80cc engine for 9-to-11-year-olds. The 49cc Minitrial is aimed at 6-to-9-year-olds.
Mini Cross 50 R12/Mini Cross R10
Italian company Beta has jumped on the 50cc competition band wagon. The Mini Cross 50 R12 is a nifty, no-foolin' little racebike powered by a 49cc air-cooled two-stroke fed by a 14mm Dell'Orto carb. For kids just getting used to riding or racing a mini, the Beta has an automatic transmission that lets them concentrate on learning how to handle their machine without having to worry about shifting and clutch work just yet. A durable steel frame, 30mm fork and single shock keep the chassis simple. The R12 rides on a 14-inch front and a 12-inch rear wheel. Also available: The Mini 50 R10 is the very same bike but with 10-inch wheels front and rear and cosiderably shorter suspension at both ends that lowers the seat height.
"Luxury, poise, power" are the words Cycle World has used to sum up BMW’s new flagship K1600GTL. The fully faired, hard-luggage-equipped GTL, with its neatly packaged and incredibly smooth inline-six-cylinder engine, is clearly designed for long-distance touring. But with a claimed peak output of 160 hp and a whopping 129 ft.-lb. of torque, this tourer's get-up-and-go is impressive, too. Standard amenities include a full-coverage wind-shield, a rear top case and a sound system with iPod compatibility and Bluetooth interface for cell phone use with optional speaker-equipped helmets.
This magnificent mile-eater with its forwardangled inline-Six is an evolutionary replacement for BMW's discontinued K1300GT four-cylinder sport-tourer. Anti-lock brakes are standard, as is a xenon headlight and a ride-by-wire system with three user-selectable throttle-response settings: Rain, Road and Dynamic. Among available options: ESA II electrically adjustable suspension, GPS and an HID low-beam headlight, whose servo-motor-controlled beam follows curves while the motorcycle is banked over rather than shining blindly into space as with a conventional headlight.
Few motorcycles can go head-to-head with the Kawasaki ZX-14R and Suzuki Hayabusa; one exception is the K1300S. This faired four-banger puts out a claimed 175 hp and 103-ft.-lb. of torque, more than enough go-juice to run with the class-leading Japanese bikes. The S model handles well, too, thanks in part to Duolever front suspension and Paralever rear end that eliminates up-and-down chassis movement during acceleration and deceleration. Also available: The K1300S HP, the same motorcycle fitted with ESA II, HP Gearshift Assistant and other high-performance goodies.
The battle-ready R1200GS Adventure has a large windscreen, long-travel suspension, engine crash guards, wire-spoke wheels shod with your choice of street or knobbed tires and an enormous, 8.7-gallon gas tank that offers a theoretical range of more than 400 miles. ABS is standard but can be switched off. A long list of options—such as an on-board computer, fog lights, an anti-theft alarm and Enduro Electronic Suspension Adjustment—allows buyers to set up the GS to suit their personal tastes. Also available: The R1200GS Adventure Triple Black, the same bike with Triple Black Sapphire Metallic paint.
Looking for a touring bike but want a torquey Twin built in Bavaria? Well, here's BMW's largest Boxer-Twin tourer, the R1200RT. Lockable, colormatched hard saddlebags, adjustable windscreen and seat, ABS and a luggage rack round out the list of standard equipment. If that's not sufficient for your long-distance needs, electronically adjustable suspension, heated grips and seat, cruise control, tire-pressure monitoring system, automatic stability control and a Bluetooth-capable AM/FM/CD sound system with satellite radio are just some of the other available options.
BMW's exploration-friendly R1200GS may have its roots in off-road races, such as the famous Paris-to Dakar Rally, but it's also capable of embarrassing many sportbikes on a tight and twisty canyon road. The flat-Twin makes great power over a broad rpm range and transmits that performance to the rear wheel through a precise-shifting transmission. An off-road version of the originally street-only Electronic Suspension Adjustment, known as Enduro ESA, is available, along with many other options. Also available: The RJ200GS Rallye and RJ200GS Triple Black, the same bikes fitted with a range of accessories, plus special paint.
On the surface, the R1200R looks like a typical standard bike, but it’s fitted with a high-performing, dohc Boxer motor, a smooth power curve and a high rev ceiling, plus ABS and active stability control. Throw in the right accessories and the R can be many things. Optional electronic suspension adjustment, an onboard computer and a tire pressure monitor, for example, make the R a techno tour de force. No matter how you equip it, the R is ready and willing to do whatever you need it to do. Also available: The R1200R Classic, the same bike sprayed with special two-tone paint and fitted with a chrome exhaust and wire-spoke wheels.
The Cycle World Ten Best-award-winning S1000RR— BMW's ultra-powerful alternative to the best Open-class racer-replicas from Japan and Italy—-just got better. A new aluminum frame has revised steering geometry and a slightly shorter wheelbase, which, in conjunction with updated fork internals, a more precisely damped shock and a 10-position steering damper, provides better handling. Already excellent electronics have been simplified: Engine response in Rain mode is mellower and more direct in Sport, Race and Slick. Optional Race ABS is virtually imperceptible in its operation.
The F800ST is a fine all-around motorcycle that strikes a smart balance between size and power. Being smaller than BMW's other Twins allows it to be more manageable for more people and less expensive, as well. The liquid-cooled, 798cc engine makes excellent power over a broad range of rpm, and the handling combines superb cornering agility with excellent straight-line stability. The Touring Package, which now is standard equipment, includes locking sport saddlebags with mounts, heated grips, anti-lock brakes, an onboard computer and white turnsignals.
This smaller version of the R1200GS, BMW's bigbore adventure bike, has been a real home run for the Bavarian bike maker. Using the parallel-Twin-powered F800 streetbike as a starting point, BMW created a GS for the masses—one that isn't so, well, massive. A new frame combined with suspension that offers nearly 9 inches of travel at both ends promises the go-anywhere, do-anything capability that GS owners expect. ABS is now standard equipment. Also available: The F800GS Trophy, the same versatile motorcycle equipped with special Desert Blue/Alpine White paint, a two-tone seat cover, and engine and handguards.
The F800R is a recent and popular addition to BMW's U.S. F-series line, which also includes the off-road-capable F800GS. Like that model, this middleweight, anti-lock-brake-equipped streetfighter is powered by a quick-revving, powerful and surprisingly smooth-running, liquid-cooled twin-cylinder engine. Claimed output for the R model is 87 hp at 8000 rpm and 63 ft.-lb. of torque at 6000 rpm. A lower seat with a height of 30.5 inches is available for no extra charge. New colors this year are Mineral Silver Metallic, Magma Red/White Aluminum Metallic Matte or Alpine White/Black Silk Shining.
The F650GS has the same twin-cylinder engine and, inexplicably, displacement as the F800GS, and they even share certain styling cues, but the two bikes differ greatly in their missions. The 800 is more capable off-road, whereas the 650 targets the urban sprawl. To appeal to the widest possible range of riders, the 650 makes a bit less horsepower and torque, has a lower seat height, shorter-travel suspension, a single front disc brake and, as a direct result, costs less. Now-standard ABS can be disengaged with the push of a button. Options include heated grips, shorter suspension and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Essentially, the new-for-2012 G650GS Sertäo is a more off-road-oriented version of the entry-level G650GS. How so, you ask? Well, while its liquid-cooled four-valve engine and steel frame are identical to the standard model's, the Sertäo is fitted with longer-travel suspension—8.2 in. front and rear, compared to the GS's 6.7 and 6.5. This, combined with new wire-spoke wheels in 2.50 x 21-in. and 3.00 x 17-in. sizes, guarantees better off-road capability. Downside is an increase in seat height, which has grown from a claimed 31.5 in. to 33.9. ABS is standard, while heated grips, an alarm and an accessory socket are optional.
One of the most popular dual-purpose Singles in the 250cc-plus displacement category, the G650GS is BMW's least-expensive model. It was updated last year with a torquier, more fuel-efficient engine. Claimed output is 48 hp at 6500 rpm and 44 fit.-lb. of torque at 5000 rpm. Also new is a compact, flat instrument panel with an analog speedometer and a liquid-crystal display featuring a digital tachometer. The display also offers additional information, such as miles traveled, two trip counters and the time. Anti-lock brakes are standard. Optional equipment includes a centerstand, heated handgrips and an accessory socket.
Take on the urban sprawl or escape it altogether. Manage appointments in-town or hit the highway. Pick up groceries on your way home or load up for a week on the road. You can do it all on BMW's new twin-cylinder maxiscooter, the C650GT. This powerful, touring-oriented machine comes with many standard features, including anti-lock braking, an electrically adjustable windshield, central locking, an auto-deploying parking brake cleverly integrated into the sidestand and the most storage capacity in its class. An LED daytime running light is optional. Choose from either Platinum Bronze Metallic or Vermillion Red Metallic.
As its name suggests, the C600 Sport is styled for scooter buyers with sporting preferences. Like the bigger, slightly heavier, more touring-oriented C650GT, the Sport is powered by a liquid-cooled twin-cylinder engine that produces a claimed 60 hp at 7500 rpm and 48.7 ft.-lb. of torque at 6000. Transferring power to the rear wheel is a CVT transmission with an automatic centrifugal clutch and a maintenance-free chain running in an oil bath. Both machines also use the same steel-tube/die-cast aluminum frame. The Sport has an adjustable windshield and a large, variable-capacity storage compartment under the seat.
If you believe bigger is always better, here's the bike for you: the LS445, a two-wheeled musclecar powered by a 376-cubic-inch, 445-hp Chevy V-Eight. Standard features include chromed valve covers, 1¼-inch handlebars and triple-disc brakes with stainless-steel lines. Boss Hoss can build a bike to suit with various available paint schemes and accessory options that include saddlebags, luggage racks, a fairing and even a hotter camshaft. Also available: The LS300, the very same machine but with a 293-cu.-in. V-Eight engine that makes "only" 295 hp.
$45,000 to $55,000
Boss Hoss also makes three-wheelers, and the company's latest is the Gangsta Trike, a long, stylish machine with sweeping rear fenders and a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Like its two-wheel brethren, the Gangsta is available with either a 293-in., 295-hp or 376-in., 445-hp Chevrolet V-Eight engine. Also available: The '32 Low Boy Coupe, which is mechanically identical to the Gangsta but with rear-end styling that emulates that of the famous '32 Ford Deuce Coupe.
Just when you were certain that electric motorcycles were destined to look like appliances, Brammo launches the Empulse. This dramatically styled sportbike is uniquely powered by a liquid-cooled motor with a 100-mile range and is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The Integrated Electric Transmission (IET) is intended to help the electric motor emulate the feeling and performance of a conventional internal-combustion engine, with a specially developed clutch and gearshift that enables the Empulse to accelerate hard from a dead stop up to its high top speed.
Because range has been and remains the numberone concern for anyone thinking about buying an electric motorcycle, Brammo created the enhanced-performance Enertia Plus. Its Power battery has a claimed range of 40 to 80 miles, which is double that of the unit found in the standard Enertia. Also, a tighter turning radius makes the Plus easier to handle in close quarters, and charging with the supplied battery cord has been simplified. The Enertia Plus comes in four imaginatively named colors: True Blood Red, Peacekeeping Blue, Eclipsed Black and Aluminum Silver.
Brammo's first all-electric motorcycle, the Enertia, produces no emissions, is manufactured in large part using recycled materials and qualifies for federal and state tax credits. This no-shifting-required, commuter-friendly two-wheeler has a top speed of 60 mph and a claimed per-charge range of 40 miles. A full charge, attainable through any household outlet, takes about 4 hours. For 2012, the Enertia is offered in the same four colors as the more-expensive Enertia Plus: True Blood Red, Peacekeeping Blue, Eclipsed Black and Aluminum Silver. Several options and accessories, including both hard and soft saddlebags, are available.
Mechanically based on the standard RS, the Spyder RT is outfitted for touring with 155 liters of cargo space, an electrically adjustable windshield, ultraplush touring saddles and a spacious travel trailer as an option. Also available: The RT Audio and Convenience with upgraded trim and a premium audio system; the RT-S, which has the premium audio system and an optional paddle-shift semi-automatic transmission; and the top-of-the-line RT Limited that has the semi-automatic gearbox as standard equipment and many other amenities, including removable saddlebag liners and a Garmin GPS.
Two wheels good, three wheels...better? That’s what Bombardier Recreational Products, producer of the Can-Am brand, believes. After riding this three-wheeler, you may agree. A 106-hp Rotax engine makes it fast, while ABS, traction control and dynamic stability systems make the Spyder almost impossible to crash. The 44-liter trunk up front makes it almost as practical as a car. Also available: The Spyder RS-S, with Fox shocks up front, different wheels and metallic paint options. Both models can be equipped with either pushbutton-electric or manualshift five-speed gearboxes.
Until recently, Christini All Wheel Drive Motorcycles has focused its production on converting select off-road machines into two-wheel-drive bikes, and it will continue to build frame kits for those customers. But the next step in the company's growth is building a proprietary machine to offer its technology at a more affordable price. The AWD 450 features a sohc, liquid-cooled engine with a wide-ratio five-speed transmission, all built specifically for Christini. And as with all the company's models, the 450's AWD system can be switched on or off. Also available: The AWD 450DS, essentially the same bike but street-legal and DOT-approved.
When it comes to super-gnarly terrain, wouldn't two-wheel drive be better than one? That's the philosophy behind the Christini. Its patented mechanical all-wheel-drive system uses chains and flexible shafts (no hydraulics involved) driven by the transmission countershaft to send power to the front wheel. The front wheel is driven at a slightly slower ratio than the rear so that when traction is ideal, the front is effectively passive; but when the rear wheel slips, power transfers to the front until rear traction is regained. The AWD 300 is powered by a liquid-cooled Gas Gas two-stroke engine and rides on a twin-spar aluminum frame.
Yes, the Heist is made in China, but it's designed in Cleveland, Ohio. Power flows from an air-cooled knock-off of the CG125 Single Honda began building in the early 1970s. Since then, it's grown to 229cc while gaining a counterbalancer and an electric starter. But it's still built to keep slogging out a claimed 14.1 horsepower at 7000 rpm through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, etc. That's not much power, but then, 253 pounds isn't much motorcycle. It's a hardtail, but mountain-bike shocks suspending the seat give it a better ride than you'd expect, along with more motofun than you deserve for $3195.
Powered by the same 229cc LIFAN Honda-derived Single used in the Heist, the Misfit is a café-style bike built to bring home the bacon in a 1960s' sort of style. Steel main tube frames mate up to a boxed section that supports the counterbalanced motor, which, in turn, acts as a stressed chassis member for enhanced rigidity. An inverted fork, piggyback-reservoir shocks, disc brakes and a dry weight of under 300 pounds should make this Cleveland model even more enjoyable than the Heist—which is a lot of fun in its own right. Plus, 60 mpg or so should be very doable on a Misfit.
Cobra, builder of championship-winning minibikes, is fully committed to continued development of its flagship CX65 motocrosser. The CX's liquid-cooled, two-stroke engine now features the world’s first direct-acting, fully electronic powervalve working in concert with its race-tuned pipe and silencer. A hydraulic clutch mated to a six-speed gearbox gives the rider full authority when trying to put all of the engine's power to the ground. An upgraded 35mm Marzocchi inverted fork and CARD-shock rear suspension provide enough travel to help the rider maintain control over the biggest jumps and bumps that the racetrack is likely to throw at it.
The Cobra CX50 Senior is powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke engine that packs race-winning performance into its 50cc size, and the suspension delivers exceptional wheel travel for a bike in this class. The Senior is designed and built to stand up to the rigors of serious mini off-road racing with a rugged twin-spar frame and ample suspension travel provided by the 30mm Cobra fork and fully adjustable CARD shock. Also available: The CX50 Junior, a smaller, lighter version of the Senior that uses a 10-inch-diameter wheel size and has less suspension travel for a lower seat height.
Alabama-based Confederate builds muscle-cruisers like no other. The XI32 Hellcat is about the closest thing you can get to piloting a low-flying hot-rod engine with landing gear deployed! Its massive 132 cubic-inch, fuel-injected motor is claimed to produce a whopping 150 foot-pounds of torque. Top-shelf race-spec suspension, wheels and brakes ensure that the Hellcat’s fury remains on a proper flight path. Also available: The R131 Fighter, a 10-bike limited run with an engine and chassis machined almost entirely from aircraft-grade billet aluminum.
1199 Panigale S Tricolore
Codename of the brand-new 1199 Panigale during development was "Extreme." Well, there is no more extreme—or expensive—version of the Panigale than the top-of-the-line S Tricolore. Like the standard S model, the Tricolore is equipped with bright LED headlights and pushbutton Öhlins electronically adjustable suspension with Race, Sport and Wet settings. Unique to the Tricolore is a stylish red, white and green paint job reminiscent of the Italian national flag, a new-generation Ducati Data Analyzer+ with GPS lap-timer function and a lightweight titanium racing muffler.
This special edition of the Diavel celebrates Ducati’s partnership in MotoGP with AMG, the high-performance wing of German auto-maker Mercedes-Benz. Forged five-spoke wheels, an all-new exhaust system and a horizontally ribbed seat upholstered in suedelike Alcantara set this model apart from the standard Diavel. Furthermore, the trellis-style frame, gas tank and passenger-seat cover are painted AMG Diamond White, which contrasts with the aluminum-trimmed carbon-fiber air intakes. Each bike is numbered, and an engine plate carries the signature of the factory worker who timed the Desmodromic valvetrain.
Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak
Cycle World's Ten Best-winning 1200 S is the basis for Ducati’s top-of-the-line Multistrada, the bucks-up Pikes Peak special edition. You get all of the standard high-tech goodies—eight-stage traction control, electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension and anti-lock brakes—plus red, white and black Ducati Corse paint, a cut-down "racing" windscreen and various light-weight carbon-fiber accessories that further jazz up the bike's appearance. Even the seat cover, with its sporty red stitching, is special. Like all current Ducatis, the 1200 S Pikes Peak comes with a 24-month, unlimited-mileage warranty.
1199 Panigale/1199 Panigale S
Ducati’s world-championship-winning performance in World Superbike racing has led the way for the brand-new 1199 Panigale. This clean-sheet design is powered by a big-bore, short-stroke "Superquadra" engine that makes a claimed 195 crankshaft hp and redlines at 11,500 rpm. "Framing" this performance is a monocoque aluminum steering-head bracket that doubles as an airbox. A single-sided swingarm bolts to the rear of the engines cases. Also available: The 1199 Panigale S, the same sportbike fitted with LED headlights, electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension and forged three-spoke wheels. Add $1000 for ABS.
Diavel/Diavel Chromo/Diavel Carbon
Think of the muscular Diavel as an Italian Yamaha VMax—minus the weight. Styled to look like a track sprinter about to explode from the starting blocks, the Diavel tips the scales at just 463 pounds. But there is no shortage of power. Ducati claims a whopping 162 hp and 94 ft.-lb. of torque delivered to the ground through a 240mm-wide rear tire. Standard features include ABS, Ducati Traction Control and Ducati Riding Modes. Also available: The Diavel Chromo and Diavel Carbon, essentially the same motorcycle fitted with either a chrome-plated gas tank or carbonfiber bodywork and forged aluminum wheels.
$16,995 to $19,995
The Multistrada 1200 is all about versatility, a bike designed to satisfy the demands of practically all riders. The special "Testastretta 11 degrees" engine is based on the liquid-cooled V-Twin that powered Ducati's previous-generation 1198 Superbike and features three electronically actuated and controlled modes—Sport, Touring, and City and Enduro—that vary output from as little as 100 peak horsepower to as much as 150. There are three available packages: Standard, S Sport or S Touring. S models come with anti-lock brakes, eight-stage traction control and electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension.
Ready for a brawl? The bare-knuckles Streetfighter S packs a heavy punch: 155 hp and 85 ft.-lb. of torque from its Superbike-derived 1099cc V-Twin. It's light on its feet, too, thanks to Öhlins suspension at both ends, forged aluminum wheels and a smattering of carbon-fiber bits. Ducati Traction Control and Ducati Data Analysis are standard equipment, and this year, you can choose from either Red or Race Titanium Matte paint. The Streetfighter S so impressed the editors of Cycle World magazine that they named it "Best OpenClass Streetbike" in 2009.
Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP
Super-hyper is one way of describing the Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP. This minimalist V-Twin streetbike is powered by Ducati's 95-hp, air-cooled, dual-spark V-Twin for an over-the-top machine that's ready for action on any road. It's fitted with a slippery, friction-reducing coating on its long-travel, inverted 50mm Marzocchi fork. The Öhlins shock has a remote reservoir and is fully adjustable for preload and damping. Brembo Monobloc calipers and forged Marchesini wheels are standard equipment, as are Ducati Corsethemed paint, serrated footpegs with Teflon sliders and various carbon-fiber bits.
Monster 1100 EVO
Ducati thinned out the Monster line last year, combining the 1100 with the 1100 S to create the early-release 2012 1100 EVO. This higher-performing model is powered by a retuned version of the air-cooled V-Twin with revised inlet runners, 11.3:1 compression and more-aggressive cam timing that bump output up to 100 hp at 7500 rpm and 76 ft.-lb. of torque at just 6000. An exhaust system inspired by the Diavel's two-can setup sets this model apart from the rest of the Monster family. In addition, an oil-bath clutch is said to reduce lever effort. Ducati Traction Control and ABS are standard equipment.
848 EVO Corse SE/848 EVO
Looking for rip-snorting V-Twin engine performance? Want razor-sharp cornering? Hoping for stop-on-a-dime brakes? Well, you're looking at all of that and more in the 848 EVO Corse SE. This sleek, trackday-ready Italian sportbike starts with the 848 EVO engine in a race-proven chassis and adds 330mm front brake rotors (an increase in diameter of 10mm over the standard EVO discs) and a fully adjustable Öhlins shock. This red, white and black Corse-graphics model also comes with traction control and a quick shifter to further enhance your overall corner-carving experience. Also available: The standard 848 EVO, which is the same basic bike but with 320mm front-brake rotors, a Sachs shock and no traction control or quick shifter.
Who doesn't love the laser-like handling of a no-holds-barred racer-replica? But, man, those bikes can be uncomfortable if you're not ripping around a racetrack. Based in large part on the 848 EVO, the 848 Streetfighter is fitted with a tall, low-back-friendly, tapered aluminum handlebar and lowered footpegs that give long legs a break. Ducati also ash-canned the full-wrap fairing found on the 848, exposing the steel trellis frame and wet-clutch-equipped, claimed 132-horsepower V-Twin. Traction control is standard on this naked middleweight, which is available this year in Ducati Red, Fighter Yellow or Dark Stealth.
Similar in appearance and size to its bigger-bore brother, the Hypermotard 1100 EVO SR the Hypermotard 796 is powered by a smaller, lighter, 803cc version of Ducati's popular air-cooled 90-degree V-Twin. A wide handlebar and a flat, passenger-friendly seat provide a nearly upright, dirtbike-like riding position that is ideal for commuting and around-town riding or even chasing apexes on your favorite twisty road. Maybe the best part of the Hypermotard 796, though, is its very reasonable suggested retail price, which is just a few hundred bucks more than $10K.
Monster 796 ABS
Building on the entry-level Monster 696, this 803cc version of the same great, all-around motorcycle is a little taller, a little heavier and a little more powerful. The Monster 796 ABS comes with a micro-bikini fairing, a solo seat and anti-lock brakes. It's available in Red, Diamond Black Silk or Artic White Silk. In addition, as with all of the other Monster models, there are nine "Monster Art" options—gas tank panels, bikini fairings, passenger seat covers and front fenders with decals and paint that pay tribute to famous Ducati logos and color schemes from the iconic Italian brand's more than five decades of bike production.
Still looks great, now costs $200 less! When it debuted four years ago as an early-release 2009 model, the Monster 696 represented the beginning of the new Monster line, featuring a major styling and technical makeover. The frame is a hybrid cast-aluminum and steel-trellis unit, while power comes from an 80-hp air-cooled V-Twin. Recent updates include four-way-adjustable brake/clutch levers, a larger heat shield for the high-mounted mufflers and new engine cases that use vacural casting technology to save 2.2 pounds over the previous model’s. Also available: The Monster 696 ABS, the same great bike fitted with anti-lock brakes.
Unlike in motocross, the enduro community continues to embrace two-stroke bikes, and one of Gas Gas' most popular enduro models is the XC300. It offers the light weight and agility of a 250cc two-stroke combined with almost as much power as an Open-class bike. This makes it a top choice for off-road enthusiasts, even though Gas Gas is not a household name in this country. The chassis uses a revised chrome-moly steel frame, which is now lighter and more rigid than the previous model's and uses a polymer subframe to reduce weight. Suspension consists of a 48mm Marzocchi fork and an Öhlins shock.
$8299 to $8499
Spanish company Gas Gas continues to fine-tune its enduro models, and the XC250 is no exception. The 249cc two-stroke engine is fed by a 38mm Keihin carb, and power is put down through a six-speed transmission with hydraulic clutch control. Suspension up front is a 48mm Marzocchi fork, with a fully adjustable Öhlins shock out back. The chrome-moly steel frame has been updated for improved strength and reduced weight, and a new polymer subframe is lighter, as well. Overall, 4.4 pounds have been shaved off the machine compared to last year's XC250 for a claimed dry weight of just 225 pounds.
TXT Raga Replica 300
Gas Gas' goal with the Raga Replica, named after multi-time champion Adam Raga of Spain, was to create the highest-quality two-stroke trials machine on the market. The exceptionally lightweight RR rides on a chrome-moly chassis built with what Gas Gas refers to as "steel micro-fusion technology" for increased rigidity. Ultra-light aluminum rims, flexible fenders and a central-exit exhaust all contribute to making this trials bike extraordinarily light and narrow. Also available: The TXT Raga 280 and TXT Raga 250, essentially the same trials machines but in smaller displacements.
TXT 300 Pro Racing
Like the Raga Replica edition, the TXT Pro 300 Racing observed trials bike is a special upscale version of the standard base model that is simply called the TXT Pro. A key difference is that the Racing's 294cc two-stroke engine uses magnesium crankcases, as well as a cylinder head that allows the owner to alter the compression ratio if so desired. Other features that distinguish the 300 Racing from the standard Pro model are a D.I.D rear rim and Michelin X-Light tires. Also available: The TXT 280 Pro Racing and TXT 125 Pro Racing, both of which are virtually identical to the 300 except for having less displacement.
TXT 300 Pro
As in most other forms of motorcycle competition, four-strokes are becoming dominant in observed trials, but two-strokes aren't dead yet. Want conclusive proof? Former Outdoor and Indoor World Trials Champion, Adam Raga, continues to compete on two-stroke Gas Gas machines. The TXT Pro bikes are the standard versions of the company's line of full-size trailers, and the 300 is the largest. This is a 297cc, world-class bike that only weighs a mere 148 pounds. Also available: Two other TXT Pro models in 272cc (the 280) and 125cc versions of essentially the same motorcycle.
Gas Gas makes trials bikes for kids of all ages, even small ones. The Rookie is a scaled-down, six-speed trialer that's so perfectly proportioned that, without placing something close it to use for scale, it looks just like the full-size models. But this is anything but a toy; it's a real trials machine that is a great platform for allowing young riders to learn balance and coordination while developing a feel for the art of trials. The Rookie features a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel combo. Also available: The TXT Cadet is similar but with a 19-/17-inch wheel combo. The TXT Boy 50 is a tiny, two-speed model made to order for little dudes and dudettes, and it uses a 16/14-inch wheel combination.
Fitting an electric motor to a trials motorcycle makes a lot of sense. Why, you ask? Because trials riding takes lots of practice, and if you want to practice late into the night, what better way to do so than on a virtually silent motorcycle? The TXT-e is essentially an electric-motor kit for the Gas Gas TXT chassis. The unit is built by German company ETA Motors and uses a 48-volt, 20-amp LiPobattery pack that can be fully recharged in 2.5 hours. The ETA's controller not only distributes power according to rider demand but also simulates engine braking, which is very important in trials riding.
The name says it all, because this ultimate H-D touring rig has it all—and then some, including electronic cruise control, 80-watt sound system, air-adjustable suspension, gallons of storage, heated grips, much chrome... A redesigned saddle last year added even more comfort along with a lower seat height. Standard Power Pak propulsion consists of a Twin Cam 103-cubic inch (1690cc), fuel-injected V-Twin rated at 100 ft.-lb. of torque at 3250 rpm; ABS and a Smart Security System are the other two components of the Power Pak program. Choose Vivid Black, one of three two-tones, or Tequila Sunrise/H-D Orange.
FLTRU Road Glide Ultra
$22,499 to $23,074
A new model last year, the Road Glide Ultra combines all of H-D's finest touring ingredients and experience to create a true rolling feast: air-adjustable FL chassis, shark-nose frame-mount fairing (packing an 80-watt, four-speaker sound system) and vented fairing lowers with new wind deflectors for 2012. Standard equipment also includes Twin Cam 103 power, ABS and Smart Security System, a luxurious/low seat, King Tour-Pak with liners and backrest, electronic cruise control... It's all here, and it all works together to make short work of long miles. Available in three colors, with cast or laced wheels.
FLHTCU Ultra Classic Electra Glide
$19,599 to $20,504
Combining classic H-D style with all the amenities expected on a modern touring machine—including cruise control, vented fairing lowers and a super-comfortable seat—the Ultra eats miles with the best of them. There's plenty of room for your stuff, along with lots of comfort for your passenger thanks to the Tour-Pak's broad fore/aft adjustment range. And for 2012, there's more power to move it all: a Twin Cam 103 rated at 100-ft.-lb. of torque, routed through a smooth-shifting, quietly efficient six-speed transmission. Available in a dazzling array of colors, with black cast wheels or wire spokes.
FLHRC Road King Classic
$21,499 to $22,714
From the tip of its chrome headlight to its whitewall tires and right on back to its dual exhausts and leather-covered hard-shell bags, this one's pure old-school Harley. Or is it? In actual fact, the FLHRC gets a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 103-inch engine as standard equipment for smooth, swift running, along with ABS and Smart Security System. Like all the FL touring bikes, its frame, swingarm and wheel/tire combo were completely updated for 2009. The result is a great touring machine that, with its large, detachable windshield, air-adjustable rear suspension, triple-disc brakes and cruise control, is more than ready to hit the road. Any road.
FLHX Street Glide
$19,499 to $20,499
Riders more interested in competence and comfort than in glitter and glitz will love the FLHX, which offers full touring capability with its traditional fork-mounted fairing and hard bags. For 2012, a deep-breathing Twin Cam 103 exhaling through a pair of chrome duals becomes standard issue for the Street Glide, and the Security Package is now an $1195 option. Cruise control is also available, the better to appreciate the slammed, 27.1-inch seat height, 40-watt Harman/Kardon audio system and air-adjustable rear suspension. Choose from five color options and cast aluminum or new tubeless laced wheels.
FLHTC Electra Glide Classic
$19,499 to $20,474
Now propelled by the powerful, 103-inch sequentialport-injected Twin Cam engine, the no-nonsense EGC brooks even less discontent for 2012. This bike's got all the important features you need for touring—including a standard Tour-Pak and two-speaker sound system— but it leaves the door wide-open for personalization. (A good place to start would be checking the cruise control and Smart Security System boxes on the build sheet.) After that, you're looking at pure, undistilled, batwing-faired Electra Glide, a classic American form if ever there was one, but packed with completely modern running gear.
FLTRX Road Glide Custom
$19,499 to $19,994
Know this iconic Harley bagger by its frame-mount fairing—a good thing for steering and wind protection—and by its long, low, no-junk/no-trunk looks. For 2012, you might also recognize it by the deep rumble of its now-standard Twin Cam 103 engine. Lowered suspension puts the sculpted saddle a mere 27.1 inches from the pavement, and a cool 18-in. front wheel leads the way; tubeless chromed aluminum spoked wheels are a $460 option. Another $1195 gets you the Smart Security System complete with ABS and hands-free key fob.
FLHR Road King
$17,499 to $18,279
Like nearly every Big Twin this year, H-D's "entrylevel" FL gets the powerful Twin Cam 103 V-Twin for 2012, and the 100 fit.-lb. of torque at 3250 rpm it brings along for the ride, channeling power through a six-speed gearbox and practically maintenance-free drive belt.. Weather-resistant, locking hard-shell saddlebags and an easily detachable windshield let you dress the bike for the ride. A low seat, air-adjustable rear suspension and footboards enhance comfort on all-day sorties—made even more comfortable by checking off the cruise control option ($295) and/or Security Package ($1195).
FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic
$17,349 to $18,224
Again, the hot news for 2012 is the new bigger, more-powerful Twin Cam 103B in the FLSTC's engine bay; that's B for counterbalanced, since this engine bolts solidly into the Softail frame. Like all the 103s, it gets an automatic compression release for faster, easier starts, plus stronger clutch springs to deal with the power. The Classic's "classic" dresser styling includes a big copbike windshield, studded leather saddlebags with matching seat and backrest, and deeply valanced fenders laid over fat, 16-inch wire-spoked wheels (new tubeless chromed aluminum ones are optional).
FLSTN Softail Deluxe
$17,149 to $18,024
A blast straight out of the past, the Softail Deluxe has a superlow seat and a wide handlebar on pullback risers that combine with full-length floorboards to provide a comfortable, easy-going ride. Though the Deluxe is heavy on nostalgia—wide whitewalls, tombstone taillight and a luggage rack, ball headlamp and horseshoe oil tank all dipped in lustrous chrome—its new-for-2012 103B Twin Cam engine is capable of moving things along at a seriously modern pace. The optional Security Package and chromed aluminum tubeless laced wheels are space-age, too.
FLSTFB Fat Boy Lo
$16,649 to $17,034
The Fat Boy gets dunked in anti-chrome to create the Lo model, with its frame, swingarm, outer fork tubes, air cleaner cover and oil tank all blacked out. This year’s new Twin Cam 103B engine is powdercoated black, and its over/under shotgun exhaust gets flat-black heat shields. Bullet Hole Disc cast wheels feature black centers, and the rear rim wears a fat, 200mm tire. A dished-out seat and lowered suspension give this bike one of the lowest seats in the H-D range. For 2012, there’s a new, low-profile, internally wired handlebar for an even cleaner look.
FLSTF Fat Boy
$16,349 to $17,224
Fat tires, fat bars, fat fender and a big new Twin Cam 103B engine for 2012 that's powerful, powdercoated black and counterbalanced—it must be the Fat Boy. One of the true classics in the Softail lineup, this model also gets the same seat as the Fat Boy Lo, dropping the rider's posterior to within 27.1 inches of the pavement. You now also get more information from the instrument panel, such as gear and rpm data, and the new Security Package option with ABS and Smart Security System is available. What'll it be, brushed or polished aluminum "bullet-hole" disc wheels?
$15,499 to $15,999
The new Softail on the block for 2012 is pared to the bone, Harley says, with classic bobbed looks, the lowest seat in the H-D pantheon and one of the lowest price tags, too. A wide FX front end straddling a 21-in. front wheel leads the way, and things like H-D's Split Drag internally wired bar mounts keep the Blackline’s unencumbered lines flowing. Yes, it gets a brand-new, highly detailed Twin Cam 103B V-Twin. Don't be fooled by the tough-guy rigid looks, either; that low seat sits atop 3.6 inches of Softail-supplied rear suspension travel for a smoothish ride.
$15,999 to $16,384
All new for 2012, the Switchback combines the twin-shock Dyna chassis, fresh Twin Cam 103 power, a quick-detach windshield and saddlebags to create an original lightweight touring rig. Pop the bags and shield off, and you're cruising. Pop them back on, and you're out of town for the weekend or commuting to work in style and comfort. A 4.7-gallon Street Bob tank is right in scale with those full fenders, color-matched saddlebags and five-spoke blacked-out wheels. The seat's down there, at 27.4 inches. With an all-up weight of 696 pounds, the Switchback is around 10 percent lighter than any of Harley's big FL tourers.
FXDF Dyna Fat Bob
$15,349 to $15,734
The Fat Bob is a twin-headlight, big-forked, triple-disc-braked, muscled-up eye-catcher of a boulevard beast—and it's even more muscular for 2012 with the addition of the Twin Cam 103B engine. That's fat, as in a fat, 130mm-wide front tire and a 180mm out back, both mounted on cool 16-inch slotted cast aluminum wheels. As on all Dyna models, the Fat Bob's rear end is suspended by a pair of adjustable shocks, in this case offering 2.1 inches of wheel travel beneath a seat hovering just 27 inches off the pavement.
FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide
$14,849 to $15,554
Freshly fortified with 7 more cubic inches of Twin Cam power for 2012, and leading with its namesake wide fork, the Wide Glide rolls with an old-school flaming chopper vibe. It's long and low, with a raked-out (34-degree) front end, low seat, internally wired drag-style handlebar and forward foot controls. The bobbed rear fender gets a "wire" sissybar, integrated LED taillight/turnsignals and a side-mounted, foldaway license-plate holder. The rubber-mounted black powdercoated engine exhales through Tommy Gun pipes. Blacked-out 40-spoke laced wheels wear a 180mm-wide tire out back and a 21-inch pizza-cutter up front.
FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom
$12,999 to $13,874
Just your basic Big Twin, folks. Nothing radical, just a tasteful combo platter of traditional H-D building blocks set off with the right amount of chrome in all the right places. A pullback handlebar rests above a Fat Bob fuel tank with the speedometer and ignition console perched on top. Mid-mount foot controls complete the comfy ergonomic package. The Super Glide is powered by a Twin Cam 96 engine linked to a six-speed Cruise Drive transmission. A Smart Security System is just one of many available options.
FXDB Dyna Street Bob
$12,999 to $13,384
Let your inner ape out. This bike's mini apehanger handlebar sets the tone, and the rest of the minimally styled, post-World War II "bobber"/'70s chopper takes it from there. It's all about going solo, with neither seat nor pegs for a passenger. The rider sits way down in a 26.7-inch-high seat and rests his feet on mid-mount controls. Regardless of the color of the Street Bob's tank and fenders, a wrinkle-black finish is applied to the battery box, console and belt guard. The Twin Cam 96 engine expels its burned gases through chromed staggered shorty dual exhausts.
Inspired by H-D's decades-long flat-track-racing heritage, and now literally in a class of its own in AMA roadracing competition, the XR1200X is one of our favorite Harleys. Fully adjustable Showa suspension at both ends, floating front brake discs, custom-made Michelin Scorcher radial tires on orange-pinstriped black wheels—this Sportster is not like the others. In addition to being fast and furious, thanks to having 30 percent more power than a standard 1200 Sportster, the 1200X is also a great all-around roadster, with spacious, comfortable ergonomics and a taut, controlled ride.
XL1200X Sportster Forty-Eight
$10,499 to $10,789
The hunkered-down, low-riding Sportster Forty-Eight harkens back to the start of the hot-rod era more than 60 years ago—as in 1948, which is, H-D tells us, the year this bike's "peanut" gas tank debuted. Along with that tank, the Forty-Eight's solo saddle, bobbed fenders and fat Michelin Scorcher tires on black-rimmed wire wheels offer a raw, elemental appearance. Slash-cut "twice pipes" and mirrors hung under the low-rise, drag-style handlebar further the period look, while its injected, 73-inch motor runs as nicely as any modern engine should.
XL1200C Sportster 1200 Custom
$10,299 to $10,809
A wide front end and a fat, 16-inch front tire give the 1200 Custom a look like no other Sportster. They also make it a good launching pad for Harley's new H-D1 factory customization program. H-D1 lets buyers choose from seven option categories to build their own custom. Pick out your wheels, handlebars, seats, paint, foot control position, security system and engine finish from a list of available options to create your personal vision of the perfect Sportster. Standard equipment includes a pullback handlebar up front and a smaller, brighter LED taillight out back, along with suspension tuned to work with the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires.
XL1200N Sportster 1200 Nightster
$9999 to $10,669
Is it coincidence that everybody started using the phrase "old school" shortly after the Nightster appeared in 2007? We think not. This hairy-chested, rough-and-ready circa-1957 throwback rolls with all the period cues: fork gaiters, gray powdercoated cases, folding, side-mount license-plate holder, black wheel rims, hubs, fork, handlebar and controls setting off polished valve covers atop 1200cc of pure fuel-injected V-Twin. A cut-down solo seat and a black, low-rise handlebar prop the rider just 26.9 inches off the ground and ready for blast-off.
XL1883N Sportster Iron 883
For those who like their Sportster straight up, no chaser, the Iron 883 is as elemental as it gets. A low solo saddle, drag handlebar, chopped rear fender, fat tires (Michelin Scorchers for 2012) on black cast wheels and a blacked-out engine mean this one's more for riding than profiling. At the same time, electronic fuel injection, rubber engine mounting, five speeds in the transmission and disc brakes mean the Iron starts, stops and goes like no '60s Harley could dream of. And at $7999, it’s tied with the 883 SuperLow as the most affordable new Harley in the showroom.
$7999 to $8499
The SuperLow is billed as the easiest-to-handle, most confidence-inspiring H-D ever. Custom Michelin radial tires and rethought steering geometry give the bike benign handling, while the tires' low profile helps reduce seat height to just 26.8 inches. A special rear suspension provides more wheel travel than the Iron 883's without causing the bucket-style seat to be any higher. A pullback handlebar and mid-mount foot controls make it easy for beginners to grab the SuperLow by the horns. Beware sharp curves, though: The downside to all that lowness is compromised cornering clearance.
FLHTCUSE CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide
CVO means "Custom Vehicle Operations," which produces Hogs for the über-consumer, and this one is about as über as a touring bike can get. With its Twin Cam 110 engine rated at 115 ft.-lb. of torque, the FLHTCUSE truly does "Glide" the highway, with a custom TourPak, cruise control, LED wrap-around brake/taillights, dual-control heated seat, four-speaker Harman/Kardon BOOM! AM/FM/XM sound, sat-nav system, power bag locks, new custom Chisel wheels and brake rotors, ABS, Smart Security System—and = three of the coolest factory paint jobs in the galaxy.
FLHXSE CVO Street Glide
Bucks-up riders in search of a hot-rod, batwing-faired bag ger with a lot more locomotion than usual need look no farther than the CVO Street Glide. Powered by a 110-inch Screamin' Eagle engine, this Glide packs a 115 ft.-lb. torque punch into your choice of three beautiful custom paint jobs, rolling atop Mirror Chrome Agitator wheels. That custom leather seat (with removable pillion) is 27.4 inches low, and eight speakers with 400 watts of power should keep you entertained (with complimentary iPod Nano). Vented fairing lowers, cruise control, ABS and H-D Smart Security system are all part of this high-end package.
FLTRXSE CVO Road Glide Custom
Maybe the ultimate bagger, this machine stuffs a 110-inch Screamin' Eagle engine into Harley's excellent FL chassis, adds a frame-mounted fairing and doesn't stop until the thing is festooned with options and covered in opulent paint and chrome, It's packed to the rafters with a heated seat and grips, cruise control, ABS, 100-watt BOOM! audio with satellite radio and iPod, GPS, Smart Security with built-in siren and automatic bike lock. You can add more from the H-D accessories catalog, but not much more.
FLSTSE CVO Softail Convertible
Can't decide between a bagger, a boulevard cruiser or whether or not you want to ride solo? The Convertible allows you to achieve any combination of the above because its fairing, saddlebags, passenger seat and backrests all are detachable without tools. A rigid-mount Twin Cam 110B ("B" for counterbalanced) engine cranks out a full 110 ft.-lb. of torque at just 3000 rpm for effortless cruising. Three exclusive two-tone color combos highlight chromed everything, and the long list of standard equipment now includes a Garmin 660 GPS unit.
FLHTCUTG Tri Glide Ultra Classic
$30,499 to $31,824
Now in its fourth year of production, the Tri Glide marks Harley’s second foray into the three-wheel segment; from 1932 to 1973, the company made the Servi-Car. The Tri Glide is built through an agreement H-D made in 2006 with Lehman Trikes. What you're looking at is an Ultra Classic Electra Glide with a modified rear section incorporating dual rear wheels and a large luggage trunk, with special front-end geometry that provides optimal steering behavior. Power flows from a Twin Cam 103 engine, and electric Reverse is standard equipment. The Tri Glide—sold and serviced by the H-D dealer network—carries a two-year limited warranty.
VRSCDX V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition
This one pays homage to the original 2002 V-Rod with a Brilliant Silver Pearl paint job and color-matched frame that evoke the anodized aluminum bodywork of the original. What remains of that first V-Rod, of course, is the liquid-cooled, 1250cc Revolution engine, hydroformed alloy frame, fat radial tires and the new performance direction they represented at the time—and still do. The new bike also gets cool new wheels, a redesigned tailsection, a more pulled-back handlebar, special badging and a chromed speed screen visor. It all says Happy Birthday, H-D.
VRSCDX Night Rod Special
$15,299 to $15,609
For 2012, you can get your Night Rod Special in Vivid Black, Black Denim or Sedona Orange, but the bike's bruiser of a dohc V-Twin engine, hydroformed frame, forks, triple-clamps, wheels etc., all retain their complete absence of color— i.e., black. The rest of the bike is badder, better and more comfortable than ever, with a new tapered tailsection and a handlebar that moves the grips 3 inches closer to the rider, along with more rearward footpegs. With a claimed 125 hp and 85 ft.-lb. of torque, this one will definitely get your blood pumping.
VRSCF V-Rod Muscle
$14,999 to $15,509
Harley’s VRS models are not like the traditional ones: Double overhead cams in a liquid-cooled V-Twin pumping out 122 eye-opening horsepower set these Hogs apart. With the Muscle's wide stance and angular bodywork, you won't visually confuse this V-Rod with any other Harley, either. A fat, 240mm rear tire sits under a clipped rear fender with LED stop/tum/taillights tucked under the trailing edge. A raked-out inverted fork gives the bike a dragsterish look, and a deeply stepped seat, forward foot controls and a cast aluminum handlebar plant the rider in a comfortable, laid-back position.
BMW’s K1600GTL was a warning shot across the bow of the reigning king of the open road, the Gold Wing. Honda responded, not with an all-new model, but by refining the existing GL1800. The torquey flat-Six engine, aluminum frame and single-sided swingarm are unchanged, and only small tweaks to the suspension and a switch from Dunlop to Bridgestone tires affect the handling. There's also a more protective fairing and bigger saddlebags with 7 liters of additional capacity, plus upgraded GPS and stereo systems. Also available: An ABS version with anti-lock brakes; and an airbag-equipped model.
When it thundered onto the cruiser scene, the Fury broke new ground, offering buyers chopper styling with the performance, quality and reliability they've come to expect from Honda. Power is via a liquid-cooled, single-crankpin V-Twin. The Fury has a low seat height, shaft drive and the longest wheelbase of any production Honda. For 2012, the Fury is available in three colors: new Matte Black/Red, Ultra Blue Metallic or Black. Accessories run the gamut, from billet covers to saddles, lights and windscreens. Also available: The Fury ABS, the same bike but with anti-lock brakes and only in Black.
"Baggers" are popular among cruiser buyers these days for good reason: A windscreen and saddlebags make longer rides more pleasant and offer a secure place to store and access your stuff. Honda recognized the widespread interest in this category and equipped its V-Twin Interstate with a large, fork-mounted windscreen and sleek, leather-covered hard bags. A hidden latch system on the bags adds to the bike's uncluttered appearance. This year, the Interstate is available in Dark Red Metallic or Black. Also available: The Interstate ABS, the same bike fitted with anti-lock brakes.
Like big V-Twins? Long, sleek, raked-out and powerful, the Sabre combines eye-catching pro-street styling with strong low-end and midrange torque for responsive acceleration, smooth highway cruising and great fun in just about any riding environment. Minimalism is the primary theme here, as electrical wires, brake cables and coolant lines are either hidden completely or routed as cleanly as possible to ensure an attractive, uncluttered appearance. Also available: The Sabre ABS, the very same motorcycle but equipped with anti-lock brakes.
In simple terms, the Stateline is an Interstate minus the windscreen and saddlebags, and with rider footpegs instead of footboards. Otherwise, both Honda cruisers are pretty much identical, sharing heavily raked-out front ends, pullback handlebars, chromed tank-top speedometer housings, blacked-out engines, curved-downtube frames, one-piece seats with deep rider cutouts and long, flowing fenders. Where this bike and the Interstate differ the most is in price: The Stateline lists for $1090 less. Also available: The Stateline ABS, the same bike fitted with antilock brakes but only offered in Black.
Sport-touring bikes have evolved considerably since Honda introduced the ST 1300 nearly a decade ago, so this motorcycle's longitudinal V-Four engine doesn't quite have the juice of the newer BMW K1600GT, Kawasaki Concours 14 or Yamaha FJR1300. Nonetheless, the ST is a highly capable, beautiful-handling sport-touring mount. It has features comparable to the competition's, including an excellent riding position with adjustable seat height and an electrically variable windscreen. As its name suggests, the ST1300 ABS is equipped with anti-lock brakes.
It's baa-aack.. .the VFR1200F, that is, and it's even better than before. Heart and soul of this ABS-equipped sport-tourer, the V-Four engine now makes more torque between 2000 and 4000 rpm, and new-for-2012 Honda Traction Control helps smoothly put that newfound power to the ground by reducing wheelspin in slippery conditions. Plus, there's a slightly larger fuel tank and a redesigned seat for added comfort and style. Also available: The VFR1200F with Dual Clutch Transmission features handlebar-mounted, paddle-style shifters. Shift points are newly optimized relative to throttle inputs for more user-friendly operation.
It's been nearly 20 years since Honda introduced the ground-breaking CBR900RR, and as powerful and technically advanced as that sportbike was, the latest CBR1000RR is better in every area. More aerodynamic "layered" bodywork, Showa's 43mm Big Piston Fork and "balance-free" shock, feature-rich instrumentation and more-rigid wheels with Y-shaped spokes are the most significant changes made this year to what was already an outstanding Openclass racer-replica. Also available: The CBR1000RR C-ABS is the very same sportbike but fitted with Honda's excellent anti-lock braking system.
In essence, the CB1000R is a five-year-old CBR1000RR reworked to produce more midrange power and perform comfortably as a situp naked bike. Sidedraft 36mm throttle bodies and 11.2:1 compression result in an engine said to be good for 123 hp and 74 ft.-lb. of torque. A thin-wall, gravity-diecast mono-backbone aluminum frame is strong yet light, and the bike's distinctive single-sided swingarm is controlled by a single shock with spring preload and rebound-damping adjustability. A fully adjustable 43mm inverted cartridge fork carries the front wheel and radial-mount dual 310mm disc brakes. New for 2012: a Matte Grey Metallic color.
$8240 to $8540
In the cruiser market, it's easy to be overwhelmed with manufacturers that have taken the bigger-is-better concept to extremes. That's why the more moderate size of the Shadow Aero appeals to so many riders. The Aero weighs just 560 pounds with a full tank, has a low seat height and handles well. The fuelinjected, 745cc V-Twin runs smoothly, and its ample cylinder finning hides the fact that it is liquid-cooled. Wire-spoked wheels and fat fenders give a traditional look. The Aero is available this year in two colors: Candy Dark Red or two-tone Pearl Black/Silver. Also available: The Shadow Aero ABS, the same bike fitted with anti-lock brakes.
Popular among entry-level cruiser buyers for its clean, back-to-basics appearance highlighted by an extensive blackout treatment and a "bobbed" rear fender, the Shadow Phantom returns unchanged for 2012. Technically, this liquid-cooled V-Twinpowered boulevard bike is based in great part on the discontinued Shadow Spirit, with other bits and pieces borrowed from another popular Honda cruiser, the Shadow Aero. Seat height is just 25.8 inches, making the Phantom an ideal choice for shorter and/or less-experienced riders.
Because it is a simple, straightforward, all-arounduse streetbike, the Shadow RS falls under the heading, "What you see is what you get." Returning for 2012 mechanically unchanged, this affordably priced, retro-style roadster competes head-to-head with popular American and European models, such as the Harley-Davidson Sportster and Triumph Bonneville. The RS is powered by a liquid-cooled V-Twin engine and benefits from Honda's sophisticated Programmed Fuel Injection. The Shadow RS is available in one color this year: Blue.
Shadow Spirit 750 C2
$8240 to $8540
Returning to Honda's lineup after a two-year absence, the Shadow Spirit 750 C2 is tame enough to be a good entrylevel machine but cool enough that no one will suspect you just got your first big bike. The gunfighter-style seat, 21-inch front wheel and smoothly integrated taillight all work together to lend the bike a distinct street-rod look, especially in new Candy Orange Flame paint (Black is also available). Mechanically, the most significant change is the addition of Programmed Fuel Injection, which incorporates a single 34mm-diameter throttle body for smooth throttle response regardless of where the road takes you.
$11,540 to $11,690
The CBR600RR was heavily revised four years ago, and the performance upgrades it received then—such as a higher-revving engine, racier bodywork and an inverted fork fitted with monoblock, radial-mount, four-piston brake calipers—have kept the bike near the top of the middleweight sportbike class ever since. This year, the CBR is offered in three colors: Red/Black, Black or Pearl White/Blue/Red. Also available: The CBR600RR C-ABS, the very same sportbike but fitted with Honda s patented Combined ABS, which delivers the benefits of both the Combined Braking System (CBS) and anti-lock braking.
Looks great, performs well, priced right! When it introduced this entry-level sportbike in 2011, Honda took direct aim at Kawasaki's popular Ninja 250R. Styled to look like the V-Four VFR1200F sport-tourer, the fully faired CBR250R is powered by a fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, has a six-speed transmission and is equipped with disc brakes front and rear for sure stops. For 2012, the CBR250R is offered in three colors: White/Pearl Blue/Red, Metallic Black or Red/Silver. Also available: The CBR250R ABS, the same great little sportbike fitted with anti-lock brakes.
New to the sport of motorcycling? Then you're probably too young to recall that in 1985, Honda's best-selling model was the Rebel 250. Well, guess what? The 2012 Rebel is the very same machine. While this air-cooled, entry-level minicruiser has more than doubled in price over the past three decades, it still represents great new-bike value by today's standards. Classic cruiser styling—pullback handlebar, teardrop gas tank and lots of chrome—will turn heads around town, and if you're pinching pennies, 80-mpg fuel economy will put a smile on your face.
Silver Wing ABS
The "Wing" name means something in the Honda lineup. Is it comfort? Acres of contoured plastic? Sure, that and the utmost luxury available on two wheels—a scooter, in this case. The Silver Wing's big, fuel-injected, twin-cylinder engine cranks out 50 horsepower, more than enough to shoot this no-shift machine off the line and out in front of most four-wheeled vehicles and many a motorcycle. There's room for two on the ample seat, and plenty of storage on board, as well. There's even an aluminum spoiler at the rear! The Silver Wing conies standard with anti-lock brakes.
In all of motorcycling, there is probably no better example of the old saying "What you see is what you get" than the simple Ruckus. This fun scooter is made of metal tubes and wears its machinery on its sleeve—no superfluous, plastic, wedge-shaped bodywork here. The engine is a low-maintenance, electric-start, 50cc four-stroke Single, and there are no gears to select. This renders the Ruckus incredibly easy to ride, while the very low seat height and light weight make it ultra-easy to handle on the road. For 2012, the Ruckus is available in two colors: black and white/red.
Goodbye, two-strokes, hello, four-strokes. A pure, no-holds-barred racer, the NSF250R is Honda's contribution to the Moto3 class that will replace the current 125cc Grand Prix machines in 2012. Somehow, Honda managed to shoehorn a liquid-cooled, titanium-valved, single-cylinder Thumper into the twin-spar aluminum frame of a 1996 RS125. To accomplish this feat, the cylinder head was inclined 15 degrees backward and rotated 180 degrees, sending the exhaust straight out the back of this slick-shod motorcycle. Honda claims 48 peak horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 20.6 footpounds of torque at 10,500 rpm.
Gapping the pack in the rough-and-tumble world of motocross isn't easy, which is why Honda continues to make seemingly small but significant changes to the CRF450R. For 2012, the outer fork tubes on this world-class MXer are stiffer, as are the internal springs, valving is revised, and new axle collars provide a more solid, planted feel at the front end. Out back, a revised shock linkage helps improve front-to-rear balance, enhancing rider confidence in heavily rutted terrain. Footpegs with serrated edges are longer and wider for greater support.
You don't have to be a competitive national-level racer like three-time Women's Motocross Champion Ashley Fiolek to appreciate the third-generation Unicam engine that powers the 2012 Honda CRF250R, but it doesn't hurt. Revised cylinder-head porting combined with a more durable camshaft that opens and closes new exhaust valves has improved low-end and midrange rideability, which is good news for all riders. As for the chassis, while the twin-beam aluminum frame and swingarm are the same as last year, the Pro-Link shock linkage is new, and suspension valving at both ends has been recalibrated.
This year, Husaberg is selling only its 2012 two-stroke enduro models in the U.S., and the TE300 is its top-tier offering. It has a potent engine equipped with a TVC power valve, a V-Force reed cage and two handlebar-selectable ignition maps (smooth and aggressive). It features electric starting with kickstart backup and a Twin-Air airfilter element that's easily removed without tools. The exhaust system consists of a nickel-plated expansion chamber feeding an aluminum silencer. The chassis is anchored by a chrome-moly-steel double-cradle frame suspended on a WP 48mm USD closed-cartridge fork and a WP PDS shock.
When it comes to tight woods riding like you would encounter in the National Enduro Series, nothing beats a two-stroke for maneuverability and snappy engine response. Like its 300cc bigger brother, the TE250 has a powerful two-stroke mounted in a chrome-moly steel double-cradle frame. A WP 48mm USD closed-cartridge is fork held in CNC-machined triple-clamps, and a WP PDS shock manages the rear suspension. Premium D.I.D Dirt Star rims are laced to CNC-machined hubs and shod with Dunlop Geomax MX51 tires in 21-in. front and 18-in. rear sizes. Brembo brakes with wave-type discs are fitted at both ends.
Positioned as a practical enduro machine that can be ridden on road or off in all 50 U.S. states, the TE511 (which actually displaces 477cc) provides fuel-injected, big-bore punch in a near-competition-ready package. A chromemoly steel frame utilizes a CTS (Coaxial Traction System), which puts the countershaft sprocket and swingarm pivot on the same axis to effectively eliminate chain pull on the rear suspension. A 48mm, compression- and rebound-adjustable inverted fork and fully adjustable shock, both by Kayaba, provide almost 12 inches of travel at each end. Also available: The TE449, the very same bike but with 28cc less displacement.
What if you yearn for more power than a 250 offers but don't want to go as big as a 450? Husqvarna has the answer in the TE310 four-stroke enduro. It's based on a 250-size chassis but is powered by a 303cc engine created by increasing the 250 motor's bore and stroke. The fuel-injected engine is fed by a 42mm Mikuni throttle body. But the coolest thing about the 310 is that, like the rest of the TE family, it is street-legal in all 50 states. So, if you're looking for a lightweight, do-anything enduro, the 310 might just be your weapon of choice.
After completely reevaluating what a street-legal, quarter-liter enduro machine should be, Husqvarna has made changes to the TE250 that are exclusive to the U.S. market. To appeal to a wider range of riders' sizes and abilities, seat height has been lowered by nearly 2 inches compared to the previous model's. A 48mm Kayaba closed-cartridge fork provides just shy of 12 inches of travel, while a fully adjustable Kayaba "Soft Damp" shock, a key to the reduced seat height, offers 11.6 in. of travel. Nice features include two-position-adjustable handlebar mounts, LeoVince exhaust, Brembo hydraulic clutch and graphics that are molded into the plastic for greater durability.
Perfect for the U.S.'s unique cross-country racing series, this Open-class enduro delivers lots of off-road performance. Powered by a 477cc, fuel-injected engine with four titanium valves and dual overhead cams, the TXC is not lacking for performance. The chassis is anchored by a blacked-out chrome-moly steel frame featuring Husqvarna's Coaxial Traction System (CTS), a fully adjustable Kayaba shock with a progressive spring, a 48mm Kayaba inverted fork and Brembo brakes front and rear. To keep the engine cool, upgraded WP radiators (with an electric fan) are standard. As a bonus for West Coasters, the TXC511 is California Green Sticker-legal.
Filling the gap between the mighty TXC511 and quarter-liter TXC250 four-stroke cross-country racers is the newest member of the family, the TXC310. Featuring a bored and stroked version of the 250, the 303cc, fuel-injected engine has four titanium valves and dual overhead cams. Electric starting is backed up by a kickstarter, and a competition-ready LeoVince exhaust system is standard. Kayaba suspension is tuned specifically for the demands of cross-country racing, with a 48mm inverted fork and a fully adjustable "Soft Damp" shock. Other highlights include silver anodized Excel rims with polished hubs, adjustable handlebar mounts and a Brembo hydraulic clutch.
With DNA borrowed directly from the TC motocrosser, this competition-ready four-stroke is an ideal choice for off-road racing or just plain trail riding. Its 249cc engine is based on those that have been winning races and titles in the World Enduro Championship. Induction is via an EFI system that feeds through a 42mm Mikuni throttle body, and both the fuel and the ignition maps were heavily revised for 2012. A free-flowing Leo Vince exhaust helps maximize output from the ultra-compact engine. Kayaba suspension front and rear is valved for the fast pace of Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) racing.
Armed with an amazing combination of power and tractability, the WR300 two-stroke remains a favorite of Husky's World Endurance Championship riders in the E3 class. Who can blame them? The WR’s light overall weight and potent power output is still hard for the four-stroke machines to match. Features like V-Force reed valves, a Magura handlebar, Brembo hydraulic clutch and silver anodized Excel rims mean that you won’t have to swap out a bunch of parts after you buy it. Just kick it over and let it rip! Also available: The WR250, the very same bike but with a 5.6mm-smaller bore.
Think of this as a dirtbike with a big future. That's because included with the purchase of a WR125 is a 144cc top-end rebuild kit, including the cylinder and piston. So, if you want to take advantage of rules that allow 125s to be bored out to 144cc by most racing organizations, or just want to save the kit to freshen up the top-end down the road, the parts will be ready and waiting. This is the lightest enduro in Husky’s range, and there is nothing more responsive or better handling for tight trail riding. A 48mm Kayaba closed-cartridge fork and a fully adjustable Sachs shock handle suspension chores, while a Magura handlebar and Excel rims give the WR a high-quality look and feel.
Competition in the 450cc motocross category is fierce— actually, make that brutal. To win outdoor motocross and/or indoor Supercross races is a tall order in this cutthroat sport. But Husky feels it can compete and continues to move forward with the TC449. The bike is powered by a 449cc mill fitted with dual overhead cams, four titanium valves, a DLC-coated piston and a Keihin EFI system with a 46mm throttle body. A handlebar-mounted dual-map ignition switch provides settings for hard or soft terrain. The Kayaba suspension is valved specifically for U.S.-style tracks and is fully adjustable front and rear.
Husqvarna's association with parent company BMW is apparently paying off, as the TC250 borrows some technology from the German firm's Formula One program. The ultra-lightweight engine features a cylinder head fitted with four titanium valves actuated by dual overhead cams via DLC-coated finger-style follower arms. A lightweight, F1-inspired piston and a 13.5:1 compression ratio help the engine produce exceptional power. A battery-less Keihin EFI system allows the rider to choose between three preset fuel/ignition maps, and an Akrapovic exhaust system uses a power-boosting resonance chamber on the header to optimize output.
For kids moving up from minis to "big bikes," there is no better next step than a 125. And in the case of the Husqvarna CR125, the bike can grow with the young racer, because a complete 144cc top-end rebuild kit—including the cylinder and piston—is included with the purchase of the motorcycle. Not only does this allow young racers to take another intermediate step with the same bike, it lets them take advantage of rules in most racing organizations that allow two-strokes as large as 144cc to compete against 250 four-strokes. Chassis highlights include Brembo brakes as well as high-quality Marzocchi front and Sachs rear suspension.
A lightweight touring cruiser equipped with passenger backrest, saddlebags and windscreen is about as rare as a happy hen in a fox den. But Hyosung has just such an animal in its ST7 Deluxe, an affordable, classically styled bagger powered by a stroked version of its own 647cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-Twin that ups the capacity by 31cc. A tank-mounted speedometer, slashcut exhaust and full, swoopy fenders give the ST7 a traditional appearance, while the muscular front end with a four-piston caliper biting a 300mm brake rotor make it look much like a power cruiser. Also available: the ST7, the identical bike without the touring bits and pieces.
Here’s a muscle cruiser that doesn't require a lot of muscle to manage, thanks to its low saddle, relatively light weight and plentiful steering leverage through its wide handlebars. The GV650 also leverages a dollar as well as any bargain bike out there by offering premium features such as an adjustable upside-down fork, digital instrumentation and bright LED taillight. Its maintenance-free belt final drive keeps the rear wheel looking clean, and the three-spoke cast front wheel carries dual disc brakes that provide the kind of stopping muscle that many bigger cruisers don't even offer.
$6299 to $6699
Accomplished Korean bike builder Hyosung offers this well-equipped, fully faired, reasonably priced middleweight sportbike. The GT650R is a very Suzuki SV650S-like machine based on a proven V-Twin engine and chassis geometry. It’s even fitted with an upside-down fork that provides reboundand compression-damping adjustability, along with a shock that has provision for preload adjustment. True to its sporting intent, the GT650R has clip-on handlebars and a truly thoughtful touch in the fomi of adjustable footpegs. Though most of the instrumentation is digital, the tachometer is analog.
Anyone looking for a simple but competent motorcycle to commute on during the week and play with on the weekend, all without breaking the bank, ought to check out the naked version of Hyosung's GT650R. Essentially the same motorcycle as its fully faired sibling, the GT650 is a dead-ringer for Suzuki's previous-generation naked SV650. Besides its obvious lack of bodywork, this version gets a tubular, upright handlebar, along with the same preload-adjustable shock and upside-down fork as on the R-model, the latter of which has rebound- and compression-damping adjustments.
Budget-conscious buyers with an eye for sporting style and an appreciation for lightweight performance might do well to check out the GT250R. The GT is powered by an air/oil-cooled V-Twin engine that delivers a good balance of power and fuel efficiency. It also offers a host of appealing features including dual projector-beam headlights, adjustable footpegs, dual front disc brakes, clip-on handlebars, a combination digital/analog instrument cluster and an inverted fork. Two-tone paint ups the price by $200.
Riders who are about to jump into the wonderful world of motorcycling have plenty to sort out, since there is no shortage of stylish entry-level machines offered in today's market. But for beginners who have a soft spot for the classic cruiser look, the GV250 could be the ideal place to start looking. The GV's petite physical dimensions, low-slung saddle and light weight make it easy to manage both while riding or simply wheeling it around the garage. The alloy wheels and two-tone paint are unique for a bike in this price range. Fat tires and full fenders help the GV250 look much bigger than it really is.
The word "bargain" means different things to different people, but it would be damned difficult to argue that the GT250 V-Twin, which is priced at well under $4000, isn't one of them. Hyosung built this entry-level model in the way that has become very common these days: by starting with a fully faired sportbike-in this case, the GT250R-and stripping it of its bodywork, thereby morphing it into a quarter-liter streetfighter. With all of the plastic and associated bracketry removed, this version weighs 41 pounds less than the R model. A tubular handlebar lets the rider assume a more upright and comfortable riding position.
Looking for a convenient mode of urban transportation for those short hops around town? If so, you might be an ideal candidate for Hyosung's ST-E3 EVA electric scooter. It's powered by a brushless DC motor that produces 1.5 kW of power and has a range said to be around 62 miles (at a constant speed of 22 mph), with a claimed top speed just under 40 mph. The compact scoot has a 28.5-inch seat height that should accommodate a large variety of riders. Rolling gear consists of 12-inch wheels front and rear, with drum brakes at both ends. A wide range of colors is available, from plain white to hot pink.
Now that Indian is owned by Polaris Industries, manufacturers of Victory motorcycles, this legendary American brand has its brightest hope ever for full-scale resurrection. Just three models will be available for the time being, with the Chief Vintage residing at the top of the line. The Vintage's fringed solo saddle looks for all the world like the sprung seats on hardtail baggers from a time most of us are too young to remember, and the fringed leather bags and wide white-wall tires also hark back to the post-WWII era. Available in two solid colors and, for an additional $900, three two-tone options.
Chief Dark Horse
The Dark Horse is an appropriately named model, since just about everything but its engine covers, rocker boxes, pushrod tubes, brake rotors and Indian headdress tank graphic is matte black. That sea of black gives this big, 105-inch V-Twin cruiser a strikingly different retro-style appearance reminiscent of WWII military bikes. Like all 2012 Indians, the Dark Horse is American-made, built in Polaris' manufacturing plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Also available: The Chief Classic, a mechanically identical model but with a glossy paint finish and chrome in all of the usual places.
Full-on touring with classic cruiser styling is what the 1700 Voyager is all about. Kawasaki's full-dress V-Twin tourer is powered by a 52-degree, liquid-cooled, single-overhead-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder engine. A frame-mounted fairing and windshield provide a bubble of protection for rider and passenger. Cruise control and an iPod-compatible audio system are standard. Also available: The same bike but with ABS, which can be combined with optional Advanced Coactive Braking Technology (K-ACT II) that uses computerized brake-force management to provide balanced stopping.
Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
Riders seeking full-boat dressers that also offer shorthop practicality have turned to "baggers" for their cruisers of choice—like this cowboy of the Kawasaki lineup, powered by the same 52-degree, liquid-cooled V-Twin used in the other Voyagers. Fifth and sixth gears are overdrives for a relaxed ride and excellent fuel economy. Side-loading hard bags swallow enough gear for a long weekend, while the frame-mounted fairing and shorty windscreen are stylish and protective. Available in Candy Plasma Blue or with the Special Edition's two-tone Candy Lime Green/Ebony marbleized paint for $400 more.
Vulcan 1700 Nomad
The Nomad is a slightly less-expensive alternative to the full-dress Vaquero and Voyager baggers, providing ample comfort and accouterments for everything from weekend rides to week-long journeys. An adjustable, handlebar-mounted windscreen, lockable, 38-liter hard saddlebags, passenger floorboards, luxury backrest and cruise control will help make any trip a relaxing one. Power comes from a 1700cc V-Twin that packs more than just punch: It has technology galore in the form of Kawi's electronic throttle system for precise fuel delivery. Air shocks and an adjustable fork allow the rider to tailor the ride to the load.
Vulcan 1700 Classic
All the right ingredients truly do make this big V-Twin a Classic. Packed into its traditional cruiser package is an engine that's anything but standard fare, It's the same fuel-injected, 52-degree, liquid-cooled V-Twin found in the rest of the Vulcan 1700 family, and it packs serious punch. The Classic was designed to be lighter, lower and more manageable for a wide variety of riders. Belt drive, combined with overdrive fifth and sixth gears, makes cruising smooth, quiet and relaxing. A pair of preload-adjustable air-spring shocks and a fork with 5.5 inches of travel provide a supple ride. Better yet, the price has dropped by $700 for '12.
With 89cc more displacement, a factory-ported cylinder head, lighter, higher-compression pistons and revised cam profiles—along with the addition of the "R" in its name—the ZX-14R is much more powerful than the previous ZX-14. The R model is the quickest production motorcycle ever built, able to post mid-9-second quarter-mile times at more than 150 mph. Keeping the big ZX driving forward is a three-mode traction-control system in addition to High and Low power-output maps. A slipper clutch, monocoque aluminum frame and lightweight 10-spoke wheels are other highlights of this earthbound cruise missile.
Concours 14 ABS
Winning Cycle World's Best Sport-Touring Bike award for three straight years (2008-10) proves what a great motorcycle the Concours is. Despite finally facing strong competition from BMW's K1600GT, the Kawasaki has only improved as the years have quickly ticked by. Its engine utilizes variable valve timing for broad power, and traction control tames the rear tire when grip is compromised. When you need to shed all that speed, the 14's ABS gets it done quickly and safely. An electronically adjustable windscreen, heated grips and a keyless ignition fob are amenities that make the C14 as comfortable and convenient as it is fast.
Kawasaki has fully embraced the electronic revolution with the ZX-10R. Taming the powerful inline-Four is a traction control system that offers three levels of intervention, and the rider also can select from three power output modes to suit the riding conditions. A cassette transmission allows racers to alter ratios easily trackside, while a slipper clutch keeps the rear wheel from hopping during downshifts at corner entry. The high-tech chassis uses a 43mm Showa Big Piston Fork and a lay-down shock to improve mass centralization. Also available: The ZX-10R ABS, the very same machine but with anti-lock braking.
Looking for an Open-class sportbike without the racetrack riding position? That’s exactly what this new Ninja is all about. Take the torquey, liquid-cooled inline-Four from the Z1000 naked, wrap it in attractive bodywork, give it an upright seating position and this is the result. The short-stroke engine offers awesome real-world performance smoothed out by a crankshaft-driven balance shaft. The aluminum frame sweeps over the engine, affording the bike a narrow width between the rider's legs. Also available: The Ninja 1000 ABS, the same bike but with a lightweight and compact anti-lock braking system.
There is no question that this Cycle World Best-Standard-winning naked is fun, powerful and radical. From its acutely angled front cowl to its full-length fork covers to its wild-looking mufflers, the Z1000 will not be mistaken for anything else. Borrowing technology from its cousin, the ZX-10R, the Z uses an aluminum frame with beams that curve over the engine to keep the bike narrow between the rider's knees. A 16-valve engine emphasizes midrange torque, while radial-mount brakes, a fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork and lightweight five-spoke wheels contribute to the Z's capable handling.
Vulcan 900 Classic LT
The 900 Classic LT has everything a weekend traveler needs to hit the road and experience cruiser-based touring without breaking the bank. Its accouterments include cowhide saddlebags, comfortable seats for two, a padded passenger backrest and an adjustable, optically correct copbike-style windshield. This mid-size "bagger" is powered by a 903cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-Twin engine and employs a low-maintenance belt final drive. A low seat and manageable weight make this a good choice, even for buyers who might never travel beyond the city limits, and the two-tone blue color gives the Classic a, uh, "classy" appearance.
Vulcan 900 Custom
Cruising riders looking for the perfect blend of V-Twin rumble and custom styling may have found just what they're looking for in this affordable middleweight cruiser. Electronic fuel injection, liquid cooling and rubber engine-mounting help make the 900 Custom's V-Twin smooth, reliable and packed with usable torque. With a fat, 180mm rear tire, sculpted bodywork and a front end highlighted by a 21-inch cast wheel, this motorcycle stands out in a crowd. Also available: The Vulcan 900 Custom SE, the very same bike mechanically but with blacked-out styling and custom paint.
Vulcan 900 Classic
With styling that harkens back to when motorcycles just looked like motorcycles, the 900’s "Classic" moniker is a perfect fit. Powered by a 903cc, single-crankpin V-Twin, this most basic version of the Vulcan family is a no-nonsense machine. Rear suspension uses a single shock, conveying the look of a "hardtail," but don't think for a second that the 900 is "old-school"; features such as digital fuel injection, four-valve cylinder heads and liquid cooling mean this bike is thoroughly modern. Also available: The Vulcan Classic 900 SE, which uses a blackout treatment on various engine and chassis parts, with a custom paint scheme.
If you want a fun and good-performing motorcycle that can fulfill many different riding needs, the Versys is hard to ignore. Powered by the same parallel-Twin found in the Ninja 650 sportbike, the Versys has enough thrust for the stoplight-to-stoplight drags of the morning commute or apex-to-apex carving on weekend jaunts. Long-travel suspension includes an inverted 41mm fork, a gull-wing swingarm, a fully adjustable shock and lightweight, sportbike-inspired wheels, all of which help give the Versys nimble, easily controlled handling. An adjustable-height windscreen adds to the versatility of this asphalt adventurer.
The Ninja 650 is exactly what a lot of people are looking for: a sporty, modern, freshly styled, good-performing motorcycle at a very fair price. In addition to losing the "R" designation of its predecessors, the 2012 model boasts a more-rigid chassis for improved handling, updated bodywork with improved heat management, an easier clutch pull and better suspension with more travel. The liquid-cooled parallel-Twin, which already had plenty of usable low-rpm grunt and strong midrange performance, got even more bottom-end torque thanks to a few subtle tuning changes.
Keeping up with the competition in the middleweight supersport category is tough, and the ZX-6R does it well. The three-time Best-Middleweight-Streetbike-winning Ninja ZX-6R is light and provides excellent handling bred on racetracks around the world. The engine itself is ultralightweight and compact, and its excellent combustion efficiency and sky-high 13.3:1 compression ratio help give it good bottom-end and midrange performance in addition to awesome peak power. A 41mm Showa Big Piston fork, a race-bred shock and radial-mount four-piston brakes are chassis highlights. A $400 price drop for 2012 is a nice bonus.
$4199 to $4449
When Kawasaki replaced the long-standing previous-generation Ninja 250 for the 2008 model year, they probably had no idea that the new iteration would become the best-selling sportbike in the U.S. just a few years later. But consumers are hungry for stylish, fun and affordable machines like the 250R. The parallel-Twin engine is tuned for decent low-end and midrange torque, one of the side benefits of which is excellent fuel economy. The 250R is stylish, too, bearing a striking familial resemblance to its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings, which didn't hurt sales a bit. Its 17-inch wheels shod with sport tires help the 250R handle on par with its looks.
When it comes to staying power, the big KLR has stood the test of time. For more than two decades, this dual-sport has provided dead-reliable on- and off-road performance that made it a best-seller. A 41mm fork with 7.9 inches of travel is plush on the road and can tackle a wide variety of terrain off of it. A large fairing offers good wind protection that, combined with a comfortable seat, makes long-distance travel a no-brainer. And if you don't want to stop often, the huge, 5.8-gallon fuel tank will let you cover big bites of mileage between fill-ups. This favorite looks like it is here to stay.
This lightweight single-cylinder dual-sport offers a lot of versatility for riders seeking a great commuter that can double as a trailbike or fun canyon carver on the weekends. An electric-start, 249cc engine meets California emissions requirements, which means it's street-legal in all 50 states. The steel perimeter frame is durable and rigid enough for off-road duty. A 43mm inverted cartridge fork provides 10 inches of travel, while a single shock has 9 inches of damping- and preload-adjustable travel. Wheel sizes in 21-in. front and 18-in. rear mean it can easily be fitted with more-aggressive knobby tires for riders who want to spend more time in the dirt.
Here's a mini that fills a lot of roles for the family that rides off-road. Its 140cc engine perfectly bridges the gap between the KLX110 and larger playbikes, providing just the right kind of power that new riders and kids—as well as adults who like to act like kids—will enjoy. Electric starting means that more time is spent riding than kicking. For newbies just getting the hang of shifting, the clutch has a clever two-stage engagement feature that helps learners feel more in control at low speeds. Also available: The bigger-wheeled 140L, which is the same bike but with a fully adjustable shock and a larger-diameter fork.
The KLX110 is supposed to be a kids' bike, so why can't adults stay off it? Here's why: It's fun! No matter the rider's age, this 111ce four-stroke Single delivers user-friendly power that just about anyone can find amusing. Recent updates include electric starting and a fourth gear in the transmission. A screw-type adjustable throttle limiter allows parents to control the amount of power that's available for youngsters while they're just learning to ride, then gradually back it off as skills improve. Also available: The KLX110L, an other-wise identical machine except for its taller seat and additional suspension travel.
Even after scoring piles of wins and back-to-back Supercross and motocross championships, Kawasaki not only continues to refine its big 450 but also introduces industry-first features. A sophisticated ECU running the 450's EFI system allows the addition of Launch Control Mode, which reduces wheelspin on starts and maximizes traction once the gate drops, then shuts off once the next gear is selected. Another feature—which may not seem important unless you really need it—is the two-position adjustable footpegs, which, combined with the four different handlebar adjustment possibilities, allow almost any rider to personalize the 450's cockpit.
How do you make an already potent racebike better? With the KX250F, careful updates and revisions was the route chosen by Kawasaki. To improve the engine's already impressive power output, a second fuel injector was added upstream (a production MX-bike first), very close to the engine's airbox, while the 43mm throttle body itself retains a single injector. That change was made to improve throttle response across the entire rev range, reduce hesitation after jarring landings and increase power output. Additional revisions were made to the engine for improved reliability, and refinements to the transmission were designed to smooth the shift action.
With the KX125 two-stroke no longer in Kawasaki's lineup, the traditional next step from the minis has gone with it, but the leap up to a 250cc four- stroke is too big for many younger riders hoping to make such a move. That's where the KX100 fits in. Slotting in just above the KX85, the 100 has a larger frame and bigger wheels (19-inch front, 16-inch rear) than the 85. And because the KX100 is a two-stroke, it's an ideal step up for adolescent racers who need to further refine their motocross techniques without having to make the adjustment to the differences in four-stroke power.
The level of performance that minis are capable of these days is unbelievable, which is why the KX85 is anything but a toy: This is a full-on racetrack weapon packed with high-performance features, truly a little racer's dream. Though the 84cc, liquid-cooled two-stroke zings out an abundance of bermblasting power, that output is surprisingly smooth and tractable, and a six-speed transmission allows the rider to keep the motor spinning in the meat of the powerband. Long-travel suspension front and rear has all the usual damping adjustability to help the KX suck up bumps with ease.
Although this is the smallest model in Kawasaki's five-model KX motocross family, it is perfect as either a step up from the 50cc, automatic-transmissioned minis or as a mount for a first-time MX racer who already has a bit of riding experience under his or her belt. Its high-performance two-stroke engine is combined with a six-speed, manual-shift gearbox and stuffed into a full-race chassis outfitted with long-travel suspension and disc brakes. As such, the KX65 is an ideal choice for young racers hoping to emulate their Supercross and motocross heroes.
Riders looking for something unique in a superbike might consider the RC8 R, a more potent version of the original RC8 that was powered by an 1148cc engine. Now the only available KTM superbike model, the R displaces 1195cc, has a higher, 13.5:1 compression ratio, stronger connecting rods, different pistons and adjustable camshaft sprockets, all contributing to a claimed 175 hp and 94 ft.-lb. of torque. At either end of the chrome-moly steel frame hangs fully adjustable WP suspension, while four-piston, radial-mount Brembo Monoblocs handle braking up front.
990 Adventure ABS
No matter if your travels take you on or off the road—or both, hopefully—the 990 Adventure is fully up to the challenge. Though it won't likely win any enduros, it holds its own surprisingly well on most kinds of dirt, and it's a true hoot on tight, bumpy, twisty backroads. The well-proven LC8 V-Twin engine pumps out 999cc of torquey, non-stop power, and the Brembo braking system includes ABS as standard equipment. Engine crash bars and wraparound handguards are now standard. Also available: The Adventure R is the same bike with more suspension travel but without ABS for riders who prefer more-aggressive, uh, "adventures."
990 SM T
Combine one part supermoto and one part urban adventurer, and the end result is the 990 SM T. This upright asphalt adventure bike is equipped for extended-range comfort and fitted with standard detachable soft luggage. Longtravel suspension and an upright seating position make it suitable for a wide variety of riding needs. The fairing and flyscreen provide wind protection that adds to the time you can comfortably spend in the saddle, and there's power aplenty available from the 999cc, 75-degree V-Twin. The SMT is a bike that will make you search for destinations rather than for the quickest way home.
690 Enduro R
Big-bore, single-cylinder dual-sport bikes like this one can nicely fill the gap between those large, liter-plus adventure bikes and the smaller, 450-class street-legal enduros. At 690cc, the Enduro R's engine now has the displacement (formerly just 654cc) indicated in its name, with a claimed output of 67 hp and 49 ft.-lb. of torque. Engine service intervals have been increased to 6200 miles. The 690 boasts new suspension spring rates and damping settings front and rear, and seat height has been lowered by ¾ of an inch to a tick below 36. Other improvements include a more comfortable seat and a brighter headlight.
Although its name has changed slightly, the 500 EXC is essentially an updated version of both the 450 EXC and 530 EXC, and it replaces both models in KTM's lineup. It has a 5.5-pound lighter, counterbalanced engine that helps make the 500 a betterhandling motorcycle. A new frame, swingarm, revised PDS shock and black Giant rims are key chassis updates. Refinements that will get the attention of dual-sporters and off-road riders alike are the translucent 2.5-gallon fuel tank, the improved electric starting system (with kickstart backup) and a more durable taillight/license-plate holder.
After proving that its 350cc MXer can hang with the big boys of motocross, KTM has expanded the formula and introduced the street-legal 350 EXC-F, an enduro version of this inbetweener. Though based on the same fuel-injected, twin-cam powerplant as in the MXer, the engine had its camshaft, valve springs, crankshaft, piston and counterbalancer revised to work in its new role, along with a different clutch. The chassis has a tubular steel frame with a cast aluminum swingarm working a single PDS shock on a 350 that promises to offer engine performance close to that of a 450 with the handling of a 250.
The 500 XC-W replaces the 2011 530 XC-W in KTM's off-road lineup, even though it has the same displacement as its predecessor. The engine in this competition-quality enduro has been improved with lighter-weight internals and slightly revised tuning, and the engine cases are die-cast for improved strength and reduced weight. A more-powerful stator aids an improved electric-start system (with kickstart backup). A new frame and a one-piece aluminum swingarm highlight chassis updates. Also available: The 450 XC-W, an identical bike with the same updates but with 61cc less displacement.
KTM's quest to make an impact in the off-road world with its 350cc formula like it did in motocross shouldn't be that difficult now that it has released a cross-country race version to compete against the 450s of the world. The winning SX platform was retuned for enduro competition, and it was given a wide-ratio six-speed transmission that's ideal for tight enduro riding. A clutch with a billet-steel basket is used for reliability. The frame is fitted with a one-piece cast aluminum swingarm, a PDS shock and a 48mm upside-down WP fork. Also available: The 350 XC-F essentially the same bike but without the wide-ratio transmission.
There was little reason for KTM to improve the potent engine of this enduro/cross-country racebike, but the company did significantly update the chassis with its latest frame and suspension technology. Out back is a new one-piece cast-aluminum swingarm, while up front is a 48mm WP inverted fork with improved oil and dust seals. Plus, the valving on the fork and the shock also was updated for improved handling. Both the XC and wide-transmission-ratio equipped "W" models now come with electric starting. Also available: The 250 XC and 250 XC-W smaller-bore versions of the same motorcycles.
250 XCF-W Six Days
Take a potent 250cc, fuel-injected, twin-cam engine that has an improved cylinder head, combine it with a wide-ratio transmission, a brand-new chassis consisting of a redesigned steel frame mated to a one-piece cast-aluminum swingarm and a PDS shock, and you get the 250 XCF-W Six Days. Electric starting (with kickstart backup), a competition headlight and taillight, a Twin-Air air-filter element and a translucent fuel tank are key features of this enduro/cross-country racer. Excel AL7 rims with zinc/nickel-coated spokes laced into CNC-machined hubs are ready for the rigors of off-road competition.
Want a dirtbike that is just as competent for serious off-road riding as it is on a motocross track? The 250 XC-F is born of the same DNA as KTM's 250 MXer but features a few details that make it ideal for enduro riding. The fuel-injected four-stroke engine has twin cams and four valves, helping the revvy mill be powerful but also flexible. The chassis is fitted with a 48mm WP fork and a single shock that both have reworked valving for improved damping. Full-wrap handguards protect levers from tip-overs and crashes. Dunlop Geomax MX51 tires are fitted in 21 in. front and 18 in. rear sizes.
You don't always need a big motor to conquer off-road challenges, and the 200 XC-W is orange-and-black proof. This capable two-stroke cross-country/enduro bike is so perfectly tuned and balanced that it always seems to have what it takes to cope with even the most difficult of trail obstacles. Its updated chassis features a new rising-rate linkage-type rear-suspension system with a longer WP shock and cast-aluminum swingarm for better performance on rough terrain. A 48mm WP upside-down, closed-cartridge fork has Teflon coating on the bushings for greater bump sensitivity.
Teens looking for rocks and roots to conquer instead of berms and double-jumps will be happy to know there is an off-road-ready 144cc KTM waiting for them. Whether it's desert, cross-country or enduro fun or even serious competition in one of the many youth classes that accompany national off-road racing series, this bike is built to take the abuse. Like the rest of the XC two-stroke line, the 150 now sports a linkage-type, rising-rate rear-suspension system with a cast aluminum swingarm. Since this bike was designed for off-road riding, it comes with an 18-in. rear/21-in. front wheel combination.
"Brute force" is the term that KTM uses to describe its 450 SX-F. But there's a more civilized side to this beast: It includes electric starting, which means you won't be worn out before you even make it to the starting gate. But unlike the fuel-injected 350 SX-F, the 450 sticks with a 41mm Keihin carb. The titanium exhaust is equipped with KTM's Header Pipe Resonator System, which helps to increase performance while reducing exhaust-noise level. A close-ratio, five-speed transmission makes it easier to keep the engine in the sweet part of its power curve.
KTM is trying to establish a new motocross displacement standard with the 350 SX-F, and only time will tell if that gamble pays off. The idea is to offer a lighter, better-handling bike that utilizes revs to compete with its larger-displacement classmates rather than brute torque. A 350 won the MX1 world championship, proving that the formula is something to be reckoned with. The bike is powered by an electric-start, fuel-injected engine with four titanium valves and twin overhead cams that let it rev to 13,000 rpm. A WP shock and a closed-cartridge 48mm inverted fork provide very good bump absorption and chassis control.
Staying near the front in motocross and Supercross has never been harder, which is why KTM continues to rework and refine its quarter-liter MXer. Powered by an ultra-revvy, dohc, four-valve engine, the 250 is fed via Keihin fuel injection to meter fuel perfectly in any conditions or at any altitude. Like the rest of the SX four-stroke family, the 250 SX-F gets a progressively linked WP shock out back and a closed-cartridge, 48mm inverted fork up front. CNC-machined, black-anodized triple-clamps provide excellent rigidity for the front end.
Need proof that there is still a demand for two-stroke motocross bikes? The fact that KTM has completely reworked the chassis on its 250 SX should confirm that two-strokes are alive and well. The 250 rides on a redesigned frame with a linkage-type rising-rate suspension system that involves a new shock and one-piece cast-aluminum swingarm. The two-stroke Single is a wickedly powerful and exceptionally lightweight engine that helps keep the bike's overall weight down to a scant 214 pounds. The airbox provides no-tools access to the high-performance Twin-Air filter, which is a convenient feature for between-moto maintenance.
Rules for AMA motocross racing allow 125cc two-strokes that have been overbored to 144cc to compete in the Lites class. This means Lites two-strokes once again have a fighting chance. KTM is producing just such a 144cc model, called the 150 SX, and if you love small-displacement two-strokes, you won't want to get off this one. Its power-to-weight ratio is superior to that of any four- or two-stroke machine of its size, and no bike in its class whips through the corners faster and accelerates harder. Also available: The 125 SX is the very same machine with the exception of having a 125cc engine.
There's a reason KTM calls its minis Sportminicycles and not playbikes: These are very serious racetrack weapons, especially the revised 85 SX. Packing a potent two-stroke engine and six-speed gearbox, this bike is all about teaching young racers the skills they need before moving up the competition ladder. A 43mm inverted fork gives the bike a front end that is very rigid and tracks accurately, and a radial-mount Brembo four-piston caliper provides awesome stopping power up front. Also available: The 65 SX is a smaller version of essentially the same machine but with smaller wheels, a lower seat height and a lesspowerful 65cc engine.
The 50 SX is a fully competitive racebike designed for the mini expert who's ready to take his or her riding to the next level. That explains the bike's long suspension travel with an inverted 35mm WP fork, as well as its front and rear disc brakes. What's more, the 50's liquid-cooled two-stroke engine has the most aggressive power output of all KTM minis, but it is delivered through an automatic transmission so little riders won't be confused by clutch and gearbox operation. Also available: The 50 SX Mini, the same bike but with smaller wheels (10-in. instead of 12), a lower seat and a milder state of engine tune better suited to younger and/or less-experienced riders.
Kymco is a Taiwanese company with a full line of scooters in all shapes and sizes. The flagship is the Xciting 500 Ri, a full-sized touring scooter that packs as many comfort and convenience features as one is likely to find on a bike of this type. That's pretty exciting stuff for a rider who likes to travel while pinching the petrol costs along the way. The Xciting offers stable handling, fast acceleration and even has an illuminated storage compartment under the seat, complete with a cell-phone charging port. Also available: The same machine equipped with an anti-lock braking system.
Headed downtown, uptown or parts in between? Kymco's Downtown 300i combines the acceleration and convenience of a maxi-scooter with the agility and light weight of a sportbike. The underseat storage area is lighted and large enough to hold two helmets. Up front, a water-tight compartment features a 12-volt accessory outlet for charging your phone, iPod or other electric items. Meanwhile, the dash is equipped with everything but the kitchen sink: speedometer, tachometer, odometer, tripmeter, clock, plus fuel and engine-temperature gauges. Also available: The Downtown 200i, a smaller-displacement clone of the 300i.
People GT 300i
Kymco's range of People scooters is one of its most popular. The People GT models are blessed with clean, modern styling and 16-inch wheels that help provide them with the kind of stability that any rider can appreciate. The top-of-the-line GT300i offers economic and reliable performance with its modern, EFI four-stroke engine and automatic transmission delivering plenty of passing power for both highway cruising and urban errand runs. Also available: The People GT 200i, a more affordable, smaller-displacement replica of the GT 300i.
Yager GT 200i
Filling the middle ground in Kymco's model line is the Yager 200i, a pleasing blend of style and technology. This fuel-injected scooter is ideal for urban commuters looking for economical transportation. A medium-height windscreen provides protection from the elements, and a built-in rear luggage rack incorporates passenger grab handles. A full complement of gauges—analog tachometer, digital speedometer, odometer, gas gauge and clock—provides the rider with important information at a glance. Underneath the large, well-padded seat is a locking storage compartment.
Following in the wheel tracks of its successful Like 50, Taiwanese scooter-manufacturer Kymco dreamed up the larger-displacement, two-up-capable Like 200i. And, really, what's not to, um, "like"? This moderately sized, stylish-looking, fuel-sipping four-stroke—available in Black, Ivory or Red—rolls on 12-inch wheels and is ideal for around-town commuting and errands. Got stuff? Then you'll truly appreciate the convenient storage solution offered by the standard color-matched top box. Care to venture a guess as far as what else is also standard? A two-year, limited factory warranty, that's what.
The People 150 offers a European flavor to its styling that's accented via its Vespa-like, fairing-encased, handlebar-mounted headlight. Fuel efficiency and quiet operation are highlights of its air-cooled four-stroke motor that delivers plenty of pep for bopping around both town and campus. And like all People scooters, the 150 uses 16-inch wheels for excellent stability. Also available: The air-cooled, two-stroke-powered People 50 shares the styling of its larger sibling but offers a substantial cost savings. An optional buddy seat allows for two-up riding.
Super 8 150
While the Super 8 150 has the sportiest styling in Kymco's lineup, its good handling and stability uphold the bike's race-inspired theme, thanks to its use of 14-inch wheels and comparatively sticky, low-profile tires. Designed as a fun mode of inner-city transport first and foremost, the 150 has all of the typical scooter-venience features, including an underseat storage compartment big enough to swallow a helmet. Also available: The Super 8 50 2T is sized and styled nearly identically to the Super 8 150 but is powered by a small two-stroke engine.
Bargain shoppers often begin their search for economical transportation with a 50cc scooter, which is fine, so long as they don't overlook one of the most affordable 125cc two-wheelers on the market. The Agility 125 backs up its sharp modern appearance with a fuel-efficient engine capable of delivering a level of performance you don't often see in its price range. And despite its amazingly low price, it even is equipped with a front disc brake and a fuel gauge! Also available: The Agility 50 retains the modern styling and features of the 125 but adds a unique passenger seat that flips up and becomes a rider's backrest.
The Like 50 is styled to mimic popular classic European scooters. Features include underseat storage with plenty of room for groceries and other smaller items, and a locking glovebox with a 12-volt accessory plug. Bonus: A color-matched top case also comes standard. This lightweight machine features a peppy two-stroke engine, a deeply padded seat for two and an analog speed-ometer, odometer and fuel gauge that are easy to read while on the fly. Also available: The Like 50 LX adds a touch of class with its two-tone color scheme and chrome trim package.
Kymco rounds out its large and diversified scooter lineup with a value-priced 50cc runabout. The Sento 50 not only flies the flag of nostalgia with its classic two-tone retro styling theme, it carries a remarkably low price that's also reminiscent of yesteryear. Power arrives via a clean and quiet fourstroke engine propelling the nimble Sento, which is equipped with 10-inch wheels that contribute to its low, novice-friendly seat height. Adding to its value is a front disc brake, a fuel gauge, electric starting, underseat storage and the two-year warranty that accompanies all Kymco scooters.
Moto Guzzi’s commitment to keeping pace with modern times is clearly evident in the Norge GT 8V This longitudinal V-Twin sport-tourer is the most luxurious motorcycle the legendary Italian company has ever produced, arriving fully equipped with everything the long-distance traveler requires. Plus, you’re not likely to get lost in the Norge experience while trying to find the best backroads where you can put the bike’s highly capable chassis to good use. Why? Because an onboard TomTom GPS receiver is just one of several options.
Stelvio 1200 NTX
As the adventure-touring segment continues soaring to new heights in popularity, the Stelvio 1200 has spread its wings with a host of improvements. Its fairing and adjustable windshield have been revised to provide greater protection from the elements, and its saddle height can now be lowered for added confidence. Perhaps the biggest tweak of all is a near doubling of fuel range with the new 8.5-gallon tank, an industry record. The 105-hp, eight-valve V-Twin engine and basic chassis have been lifted from the Griso. The Stelvio boasts amenities like locking storage and optional goodies that include a navigation system, heated grips and a full complement of luggage.
Griso 8V SE
The Griso is Moto Guzzi’s take on the popular naked sport-standard theme but livened up with a large dose of classic Italian flair. The Special Edition’s Tenni green paint scheme pays homage to M-G’s racing heritage, and the 108-horsepower, fuel-injected, eight-valve version of the trademark longitudinal 90-degree V-Twin produces bone-stirring torque throughout its rev range. Sporting suspension and powerful brakes allow the Griso rider to exploit the chassis’ solid handling and excellent cornering clearance.
Moto Guzzi celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2011, and the California 90 not only commemorates that occasion but also marks the final edition of the California family of models that date back some 40 years. An identification plate on the steering yoke certifies the limited-edition production, and the tank logo reproduces the writing used by Moto Guzzi designers in the 1930s. The blend of retro styling with modern performance and reliability—thanks to an up-to-date V-Twin fed by electronic fuel injection lurking beneath the skin—offers a unique Italian twist to cruiser touring.
Paying homage to the racing career of the V7 Sport, the V7 Racer captures the spirit of those glory days of four decades past. If its chromed tank with leather fastener strap along its centerline, suede solo saddle and various drilled, brushed aluminum brackets and sidecovers were not a strong enough visual cue, then the race number panels integrated into the tail and headlight flyscreen drive the message home even more clearly. Sporting suspension, Brembo calipers and sticky Pirelli Demon Sport tires ensure that the ride lives up to the classic racer looks.
In 1967, Moto Guzzi introduced one of the classic Italian roadburners: the V7. Everything old is new again with the latter-day V7 Classic positioned as a retro-styled entry-level Guzzi. Under its `60s skin, it's all low-tech, low-cost components that Guzzi fans will recognize from the `80s and `90s, including the "small block" motor, bias-ply tube-type tires, single disc brake and simple driveshaft. The V7 Clas sic won't dine on Ducs, but its light weight, ample low-end torque and easy handling make for a pleasant riding experience.
One of the preeminent exotic bike-makers, Italy’s MV Agusta has been hard at work updating its lineup. One result is the F4 R, powered by a significantly altered inline-Four powerplant with a shorter stroke, larger titanium valves and reshaped ports in a new cylinder head. Claimed output is 195 hp at 13,000 rpm. Both the 50mm Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock are fully adjustable. No skimping on the slipper clutch or reprogrammed traction control, either. Also available: The uprated F4 RR version, with racing-spec Öhlins NIX fork and TTX 36 shock, as well as an adjustable steering head and swingarm pivot position.
Brutale R 1090
The Brutale naked bikes have always been long on style and loaded with performance while providing just enough practicality and comfort from their upright ergonomics to make them the “rational” choice in the Italian bike-maker’s line. Still, at the price, it might be best to leave your accountant out of the room when you make the decision! Over the years, the displacement has grown and refinements have resulted in a far less temperamental thoroughbred. The addition of eight-level traction control also aids rideability. Also available: The RR 1090, much the same bike but with better suspension, nicer finishes and different wheels.
Meet MV’s long-awaited entry into the middleweight supersport market. Styling is instantly recognizable as that of an MV and conceals a completely new design underneath. Centerpiece is the 675cc three-cylinder engine producing a claimed 130 hp at 15,000 rpm. Mikuni throttle bodies are ride-by-wire, and the ECU is programmed with multiple power maps and traction control. The chassis is modeled on those of the larger bikes but sized to suit. A fully adjustable Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock are complemented by Brembo calipers front and rear. Also available: The Serie Oro, a limited-edition version with Öhlins suspension, forged aluminum wheels and many other detail refinements.
Considering that Triumph’s 675 Street Triple naked bike is one of the most fun motorcycles on the market, the fact that the MV Agusta F3 Brutale also is a 675cc inline-Triple based on its supersport brother (much like the S-T is based on the Daytona) bodes extremely well. It will be hard to go wrong with a 115-clainred-hp engine that features ride-by-wire, multiple power maps and traction control. The chassis is taken from the F3, but the absence of bodywork drops claimed dry weight to a feathery 359 pounds. As of this writing, price in the U.S. was yet to be determined, but MSRP in Europe was quoted at 8990 euros, or about $11,500.
Storied British brand Norton has returned, this time based in England. The neo-classic bikes are said to be re-engineered versions of the Kenny Dreer-developed, U.S.-made prototypes. As such, historic Norton cues are prevalent—the counterbalanced parallel-Twin is canted forward and styled to look like Commandos of old, for example. But fuel injection, modern tire sizes, Brembo brakes and fully adjustable Öhlins suspension ensure modern, sporty performance. Dual-seat versions are expected in the fall. Also available: The Café Racer, which has has clip-on bars and a little flyscreen.
After an almost 30-year hiatus, OSSA has returned to the market. With a clean slate at his disposal, former Gas Gas designer Josep Serra went to great lengths to design a competition trials machine with few if any compromises. Every component on the machine is placed to optimize weight distribution, while others like the air-filter box, fuel tank and radiator were relocated where function would be most efficient. These packaging decisions led to a backward-facing and tilted engine, with the intake facing forward and the exhaust to the rear. Another key to the ultra-compact engine is the use of an innovative Kokusan battery-less cylinder-direct fuel-injection system on the 272cc two-stroke.
BV 300 Tourer
The BV Tourer 300 is very much a scooter, as anyone can plainly see, but it also has a bit of motorcycle in it, thanks to its 16-inch wheels front and rear, with dual shocks out back. That’s an especially good deal if your city’s crumbling infrastructure includes pesky potholes—and whose doesn’t? A handlebar-mounted windscreen allows the BV to be even more commuter-friendly, and an optional topbox and small sidecases can make it even more so. Piaggio likes to have fun with acronyms, so the 300 uses a QUASAR motor, for “QUArter-liter Smooth Augmented Range.” No, we don’t know what that means, either...
Fly 150/Fly50 4V
Sometimes you just need quality-built, basic transportation at a bargain price. Piaggio—maker of Vespa scooters for more than 60 years—gets back to its roots with the Fly 150. It shares its peppy, user-friendly 150cc powerplant with the company’s upscale LX, LXV and S models but is priced $1600 below the least-pricey 150cc Vespa. There’s no skimping on features, though: The Fly gets underseat storage, a comprehensive instrumentation package, a front disc brake, a halogen headlamp and electronic fuel injection. Also available: The Fly 50, much the same machine with a smaller but still environmentally friendly four-stroke engine.
Powered by a peppy, fuel-efficient, 124cc fourstroke Single, the stealthy-looking Typhoon can blow through inner-city traffic congestion like wind whistling through the forest. Its aggressive tire-tread pattern and distinctive shark-face nose with gill-like slits flanking the integrated headlight give this scooter sporty appeal aimed at today’s adventurous youth. No matter if you’re trolling the campus or navigating surface streets about town, the Typhoon’s spacious saddle and passenger grab handles deliver plenty of comfort for two.
The biggest model in Polini’s mini-MX line is the XP4R, a 107cc air-cooled four-stroke that is just as at home on a motocross track as it is playing on dirt trails. Nevertheless, this little mini-Thumper is a reasonably serious racebike that is available with either a 12/10-in. front/ rear wheel combination or with 14/12-inchers for bigger and/or faster riders. A wide selection of hop-up equipment is available for the XP4R, including Marzocchi forks, Öhlins shocks, four-valve cylinder heads and a whole lot more.
The most serious motocross model from the Italian Polini firm is the XP65R, a for-real, all-out competition machine for young riders. Its six-speed, liquid-cooled, reed-valve two-stroke motor is tuned for quick laps under a fast rider. The rugged frame, long-travel Marzocchi inverted fork and Öhlins piggyback-reservoir shock work with the 14/12-inch wheel combination to handle whatever the roughest tracks can put under it. How good is the 65R, you ask? Good enough to have earned podium finishes at races all across the country ever since its introduction five years ago.
The top 50cc motocrosser in the Polini lineup is the X3R, a liquid-cooled, reed-valve-intake two-stroke that’s AMA-approved for mini-MX racing. This little hot-rod has all the requisite equipment—12-inch front/10-inch rear alloy wheels for competition in the more advanced mini classes, hydraulic disc brakes, a rugged double-cradle steel frame with a detachable rear subframe, a beefy aluminum swingarm and a reservoir shock. Also available: The XIR is a very similar model that’s one step below the X3R, with 10-inch wheels at both ends, a wee bit less horsepower and a lower seat.
Though the Classic Chrome harks back to the post-WWII era with a solo seat, period “toolbox” side covers and visored headlight, its unit-construction engine is intended to carry the brand into a new era. Despite its retro styling, the Chrome has electronic fuel injection, a catalyst-equipped exhaust, electric starting and a front disc brake. And all the bikes in the Royal Enfield line are legal in California. Also available: The Desert Storm and Battle Green are the same machines painted in military colors (“sand” and “olive drab,” respectively); the Classic 500 is the base model available in three “civilian ” colors.
Bullet Electra Deluxe
Royal Enfield’s recent steps to modernize its mechanical platform have meant big changes for the company’s line of single-cylinder, classically styled motorcycles. While the Classic series represents a distinctly retro take on a machine that dates back to the 1930s, the Bullet Electra Deluxe offers a slightly more modern appearance with a dual seat and different side covers on the unit-construction Single. Also available: The Bullet Electra EFI and Bullet 500 are the very same bikes but each with a difference in their seats, graphics and several other styling touches.
This small French builder of off-road motorcycles is owned by the man who founded the company in 1993, Marc Teissier. Scorpa produces a line of high-quality trials bikes using two-stroke engines built by Sherco—another trials company also owned by Teissier—but currently only sells two models in the U.S. The SR280 is typical of the genre in that it has a very short (52.4-in.) wheelbase, no actual seat and weighs little more than a 50cc minibike. Also available: The SRI 25, which is absolutely identical to the 280 in every way save for its displacement.
The two-stroke ST 2.9 Trials is Sherco’s current weapon of choice in the hard-fought world of competitive observed trials. The 2.9 is built around a compact, 272cc carbureted two-stroke motor that delivers a combination of immediate torque and smooth power. With its light and agile chrome-moly steel chassis, the 2.9 is an ideal mount for club riders and world-class competitors alike. Also available: The ST 1.25 Trials, which is virtually identical to the 2.9 model, differing only in its smaller engine displacement and $700 lower price.
The roar of a big V-Twin under hard acceleration is exhilarating, and the Boulevard M109R plays that role well, growling and springing out of the hole like the king of the asphalt jungle as it pounces on its prey. There is as much Suzuki GSX-R sportbike performance heritage in this cruiser as could be wedged between its massive 240mm rear radial and inverted fork. Also available: The Boulevard M109R Limited Edition has a unique paint scheme that includes a wide racing stripe, plus a digital tachometer, a clear taillight lens with red LEDs and a textured seat.
An icon of two-wheel performance, the Hayabusa has a presence like few other sport machines, melding distinctive aerodynamic styling and a wickedly powerful engine to produce mind-blowing acceleration on the road and the strip. The ’Busa has fully adjustable suspension featuring an inverted fork with DLC (Diamond-Like Coating) on its inner tubes for supple action. Though the ultra-stable chassis commands a sporting posture, the ergonomics are roomy enough and the ride smooth enough to allow the Hayabusa to serve as a sporting grand-touring mount.
From its 2001 debut all the way through 2009, the big Gixxer was clearly the most dominant force in AMA Superbike racing, having won the championship every year during that timespan. For 2012, a new 4-into-2-into-l exhaust system accounts for much of the bike’s 4-pound weight reduction and boost in its midrange power output. A switch on the right handlebar allows the rider to select from three engine-performance settings to match riding conditions, and an electronically controlled steering damper varies its resistance according to the bike’s road speed.
V-Strom 1000 ABS Adventure
This is a do-everything motorcycle for riders who want value and versatility. Its combination of a powerful V-Twin engine, nimble handling and a roomy, all-day riding position offers a true adventure-touring experience at an affordable price. The Adventure’s spacious quick-detach side and top cases complete the package by providing generous on-the-road storage. Don’t feel that you have to head north to the Yukon, however, because the big ’Strom makes a great daily commuter, as well. Also available: The V-Strom 1000 ABS, the same bike without the luggage.
The C50T is a touring-oriented cruiser with several features geared for extended riding on the open road. It combines modern engineering with traditional styling and tried-and-true equipment that includes textured leather saddlebags, a height-adjustable windshield, a broad, low saddle with a pivoting passenger backrest, and stylish whitewall tires. The riding position, handlebar bend and forward-mount foot controls help make this touring cruiser an enjoyable ride no matter how far off the boulevard your travels may take you. Also available: The Boulevard C50T Classic, the same cruiser but without the bags, bacb-est and windshield.
Liter-class sportbikes are best known for their engine performance, while their middleweight counterparts are more about compact size and agile handling. The GSX-R750 offers the best of both worlds in a machine that many people consider the most all-around competent sportbike in the business. A feature called S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) allows the rider to choose from three power settings via a handlebar switch. An electronically controlled steering damper, lighter-than-ever wheels and up-to-date styling keep the 750 Gixxer leading the pack.
Beginners and budget-nrinded buyers alike will find a lot to like about this classic-looking Single. The S40 not only packs plenty of style and chrome for its $5399 asking price, but its ultra-low saddle and thoughtful handlebar bend are aimed at increasing rider comfort, confidence and control for anyone who throws a leg over this versatile little cruiser. Another of the S40’s attractive traits is the ease of maintenance offered by the air-cooled, four-stroke, sohc, single-cylinder, electric-start engine and lube-free belt drive. Light and low, the S40 is a natural first step for beginning riders.
V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure
Adventure bikes usually are tall, gangly and heavy, but not this one. The middleweight V-Strom offers exceptional versatility that’s well suited to a daily commute, a trip to the wilds of Alaska and anything in between. Its torquey V-Twin engine, agile chassis and roomy ergonomics lend the ’Strom the sort of comfort you normally would get only with a liter-class machine. Plus, the Adventure comes standard with big, top-loading aluminum side cases, rugged engine guards and an adjustable windscreen. Also available: The V-Strom 650 ABS, the same machine without the bags, crash guards and adjustable windscreen.
Essentially a 151cc-smaller clone of the GSXR750, this middleweight Gixxer has superbike-bred performance and handling DNA in spades. The 600 shares its race-quality, fully adjustable 41 mm Showa Big Piston Fork with the 750 and also uses the same Brembo Monobloc front brake calipers and eye-catching bodywork, all providing a boost in performance with fresh new looks. The inline four-cylinder motor is narrow and lightweight, with a stacked transmission layout that shortens the engine front-to-rear, allowing a longer swingarm that benefits rear-wheel traction and overall handling.
In today’s tough economic climate, an affordable, user-friendly standard model with quality features and traditional style is just the ticket for many people looking to get into motorcycling, and the TU250X meets those needs quite nicely. Its fuel-efficient, air-cooled four-stroke Single produces low-rpm torque that is ideally suited for city use. Up-to-date technologies include electronic fuel injection and an exhaust with catalytic converter and 02 feedback system for cleaner exhaust emissions. The TU’s lightweight chassis, responsive steering and low seat make it the perfect platform for new riders just learning the ropes.
When the pavement ends, the fun begins aboard the lightweight, single-cylinder and surprisingly low-priced DR650SE. Engineered for a good balance of off-road agility and smooth, highway-capable street performance, the DR’s dual-sport chassis and suspension provide precise control on trails and fireroads yet offer solid stability at street speeds. On the road, the engine’s counterbalancer quells vibration, while the spacious riding position and comfortable seat are suited to extended tours of duty or adventure. Plus, the bike can be lowered 1.6 inches with dealer-supplied suspension modifications.
Back in 2000, Suzuki fitted its splendid DR-Z400E enduro with street-legal equipment, the end result being the DR-Z400S, a bike with off-road performance exceeding that of most other dual-purpose bikes. The S-model uses the same high-quality suspension and lightweight, sharp-handling chassis as the E, making it capable of dealing with everything from tight, technical trails to wide-open fireroads to city streets to open highways. The liquid-cooled four-stroke Single is blessed with crisp throttle response and strong torque, and it’s even remarkably smooth-revving at freeway speeds.
Burgman 650 Executive
Burgman riders get the CEO treatment thanks to this scooter’s continuously variable, electronically controlled transmission. The rider may choose from two automatic-shift modes (Normal and Power) or one button-actuated manual mode. An ultra-plush, sofa-like seat contributes to the 650’s comfy ride and opens to reveal a cavernous storage area big enough to accept two full-face helmets. Other Executive features include anti-lock brakes, an electrically height-adjustable windscreen and an easy-to-use rear-view-mirror retraction button for squeezing into tight parking spaces.
Burgman 400 ABS
The Burgman 400 may just be the ultimate commuter scooter, neither too big nor too small. Its stylish good looks, practicality, comfort, performance and fuel economy offer modern urban travelers a swift, smart mode of transit. The 3.6-gallon fuel tank provides excellent range between visits to the pump. Standard features include a stepped dual seat with an adjustable rider backrest, spacious under-seat storage and a trio of convenient glove-boxes located in the dash. Anti-lock brakes are now standard, as well, and cutaway floorboards allow easy foot placement when coming to a stop.
Whether you’re shopping for a pitbike, playbike, campsite companion or first machine for a young teen, the compact, kick-start, four-stroke DR-Z125 is an excellent one to consider. It’s a fun ride for experts, yet its light clutch and five-speed gearbox provide an easy means for beginners to develop shifting skills. One drawback? Everyone is going to want to borrow it. Perhaps the first accessory you purchase should be a keyed ignition switch. Also available: The DR-Z125L, fitted with 19/16-inch wheels and disc front brake rather than the standard model s 17/14-inchers and drum front brake.
The RM-Z450 is a proven winner with AMA Supercross and Outdoor Motocross Championships to its credit. A battery-less electronic fuel-injection system, a twin-spar alloy frame, race-quality Showa suspension and top-notch brakes are just a few of the key ingredients that combine to make this ripping yellow motocross racebike a prime choice for pro and amateur riders alike. The seat top’s gripper texture provides an added sense of control, along with a stylish appearance that goes well with the 450’s two-tone radiator shrouds.
Whether you're a national Lites-class contender, a regional amateur motocross racer or a weekend rec reational rider with a penchant for performance, the handling agility and manageable power delivery of Suzuki's 250 four-stroke MX bike is a good fit. The frame, swingarm and Showa suspension are designed and calibrated to strike a balance between stable handling and ease of turning. The fuel-injected fourstroke delivers competitive power while adhering to the tight exhaust-noise restrictions imposed by AMA Pro Racing. Its black numberplate background also conforms to class competition regulations.
Here’s an ideal choice for up-and-coming motocross racers who are still in the early years of their growth potential but need a bike that bridges the gap between the little 50cc mini-MXers and the full-size 125s. The two-stroke RM85 is a well-proven, race-winning machine with superb long-travel suspension capable of soaking up the full-scale bumps and jumps found on an expert-level motocross track. Also available: The RM85L is the same MX bike but with larger-diameter 19/16-inch wheel sizes that give the bike a greater ability to handle a wider variety of rough terrain.
TM produces some of the world’s most exotic offroad motorcycles, bikes hand-built one at a time rather than assembled on a production line. The EN 4t 450Fi is a fuel-injected, four-stroke, electric-start, non-street-legal enduro that rides on a 50mm Marzocchi inverted fork and a Sachs shock (Öhlins shocks are optional). Power is via a dohc, four-valve, 449cc Single equipped with a spark arrestor approved for off-road riding. Also available: The EN 4t 250Fi is identical to the 450 except for engine displacement, a six-speed gearbox, a slightly narrower rear tire and a few pounds less overall weight.
EN 2t 300
Despite the growing popularity of four-stroke dirtbikes, two-stroke enduros are still in demand by many riders, and TM’s EN 2t 300 is a fantastic one. It combines practically unstoppable torque and sheer power with top-grade suspension and superb handling for an unforgettable off-road experience. As is the case with all TM models, the EN 2t 300 is hand-assembled. Also available: The EN 21250 and EN 2t 125 are identical to the 300 in virtually every respect except for displacement, and the fact that the 125 has a six-speed transmission instead of the five-speeders in the 300 and 250.
MX 4t 450 Fi
The MX 4t 450 Fi is a light and fast four-stroke racebike designed for motocross-and Supercross-class competition. It’s hand-assembled in Italy and outfitted with high-quality equipment that includes a Marzocchi inverted fork, a Sachs shock (two different Öhlins shocks are optional: a $350 standard unit and a $1350 TTX) and Brembo brakes complementing TM’s own home-built 449cc, four-valve powerplant (with optional electric starting). Also available: The MX 4t 250 Fi, which differs only in displacement, a few pounds of weight and a 100/90-19 rear tire instead of the 450’s 110-90 size.
MX 2t 250
Motocross riders have fully embraced the four-stroke revolution, but that hasn’t left two-stroke MX bikes on the wayside. Atop TM’s two-stroke motocross line is the MX 2t 250, which has a user-friendly powerband with enough oomph to pull through deep sand and sticky mud, and easily launch you over the tallest, longest jumps. An aluminum frame fitted with a Sachs shock (Öhlins shocks are optional) and a 50mm Marzocchi fork handle the roughest terrain, whether man-made or natural. Also available: The MX 2t 125, which is identical to the 250 except for its displacement and use of a six-speed gearbox.
The Rocket III Touring aims its classic good looks and strong dose of long-range comfort and convenience at the serious moto-traveler. Its features include a version of the torque-laden 2.3-liter three-cylinder engine from the standard Rocket III that has been retuned for even greater low-end power, plus frame, suspension, wheels, seat, fuel tank, instruments and lights that are specific to this model—all tweaked and fettled to improve the bike’s on-the-road capabilities. ABS is standard equipment, along with lockable hard luggage and a touring windscreen.
Rocket III Roadster
It’s got the world’s biggest production motorcycle engine, so why shouldn’t it make 163 ft.-lb. of torque at just 2750 rpm and 146 hp just 3000 rpm later? No other production bike comes close! All that power flows smoothly from the 2294cc longitudinal Triple to the Roadster’s 240-section rear tire through a five-speed trans and shaft final drive. Even the 150/80-17 front tire is bigger than what many bikes have out back. This flagship beast also sports a 43 mm inverted fork, standard Nissin ABS brakes and comprehensive instrumentation cruising along behind a pair of Triumph’s signature bug-eye headlights.
The Storm is the black sheep of the Thunderbird family, in your choice of Jet or Matt, with blackedout engine cases and trim to match. At 1699cc, it’s also 102cc bigger than the regular T-Bird, 12 horses stronger and 7 ft.-lb. torquier. With a flat, drag-style handlebar and a low, 27.5-inch seat, the Storm thunders serenely along on custom Metzeler Marathon tires, five-spoke wheels, a 47mm fork and five-way preload-adjustable shocks. Along with the bike, Triumph offers up more than 100 factory accessories for the Storm.
$13,499 to $13,799
Lovers of big Twin looking for something different in a cruiser—including one we voted Best Cruiser in our 2009 and 2010 Ten Best balloting—might find exactly what they’re after with the Thunderbird power cruiser. The 1597cc parallel Twin chums out a claimed 85 hp and 108 ft.-lb. of torque, and that big engine is counterbalanced for smooth running and fuel-injected for precise fueling. With its 5.8-gallon fuel capacity, you can cruise for a good long time, too. Triple disc brakes with standard ABS for 2012 ensure that you can also stop this big musclebike.
Packing a powerful, fly-by-wire 1215cc Triple in a tough steel frame, and passing that power to the rear wheel via a single-sided swingarm and shaft drive, this all-new model wants to take the big adventure-bike fight straight to BMW. Cruise control, traction control and switch-offable ABS brakes are all standard equipment. The whole package bristles with high-tech touches that include a comprehensive onboard computer and a high-output alternator to power all sorts of accessories. Having 7.5 inches of suspension travel under a 570-pound machine with a seat almost 33 inches high should allow serious off-road adventures.
New for the 2011 model year, Triumph’s sportiest sport-tourer hangs a roaring, 1050cc inline-Triple from a lightweight alloy frame with a single-sided swingarm, then mixes in all the requisite long-distance ingredients. A tall windshield, a comfortable touring seat for two and a pair of 31-liter hard saddlebags are part of the package, as well as triple disc brakes with ABS, a 43mm fork and a hand-preload-adjustable shock. Though the Sprint’s excellent Triple is of course electronically fuel injected, the rest of the bike eschews over-the -top electronic trickery in favor of simplicity and affordability. Not a bad thing in our book.
Tiger 1050 SE ABS
Just because Triumph built an all-new and bigger Tiger for 2012 doesn’t mean it neglected what is now the mid-size model. This year, the tasty 1050 Triple gets revalved suspension at both ends with a 29-percent stiffer rear spring for sportier handling. To complement the new-found aggression, a black, tapered aluminum handlebar places the grips 20mm lower than did the previous steel bar. New graphics and upscale finishes on various components give the bike a near-complete makeover. Now that the 1050 has standard ABS and a big brother named Explorer, its mission is clear: be a great all-around streetbike.
Heavily revised just last year and now with 135 horses stuffed in a brazen aluminum-tube frame with nothing to hide, the Speed Triple carries on in the finest bad-boy streetfighter tradition it instigated back in 1994. Upright ergonomics and wide-handlebar leverage combined with broadband power and strong brakes add up to one of the most fun and functional motorcycles you’ll ever ride in the real world. An ABS model is available for an additional $800. Also available: The Speed Triple R ABS, with Öhlins suspension front and rear, Brembo Monobloc front calipers and lightweight PVM wheels.
The Thruxton is a faithful replica of the home-built roadracers that stormed across the English countryside from one pub to the next during the Sixties. A low handlebar with bar-end mirrors, preload-adjustable front and rear suspension, cut-down fenders, wire-spoked aluminum rims and a floating front disc brake separate this EFI-equipped parallel-Twin from the other similarly powered models that Triumph produces. Best of all, The Thruxton runs and rides as good as it looks, producing a claimed 68 horsepower. Also available: The Thruxton SE, the same bike with special paint and graphics.
If this bike doesn’t conjure up images of exploring roads long forgotten by the rest of society or of sneaking out on a starry night just to feel the wind in your face, maybe you should crawl back into bed, close your eyes and dream of the hereafter. Based on the Bonneville, as its EFI parallel-Twin, chassis and basic shape suggest, the Scrambler gets a 270-degree crank rumbling through dual high-mount exhausts and semi-knobby tires that hark back to Triumph’s storied desert-racing heritage. It’s a fun streetbike that can wander up a dirt road, too.
The T100 plays the authentic British Twin roadster to the bone, with real 1960s details like peashooter silencers, classic two-tone color options and wire-spoked steel wheels. Not to mention rubber fork gaiters, knee pads and a classically styled, handlebar-mounted speedo and rev counter. Like all the other Twins in Triumph’s Bonneville lineup, engine capacity is 865cc. Also available: In honor of Steve McQueen s riding of a Triumph in “The Great Escape” movie, 1100 numbered McQueen Editions will get special Matte Khaki Green paint and military-style graphics including SMcQ s signature on the sidecovers.
The Speedmaster is a drag-style take on the classic Triumph chopper of the ’60s, distinguishing itself with a 19-inch raked-out front wheel, blacked-out engine cases and a rumbly, 270-degree-crank-equipped version of Triumph’s excellent Twin that’s good for 60 hp at 6800 rpm. Stripped down and ready for action, the Speedmaster has a way low seat height—just 27.1 inches—that makes it accessible to riders of all sizes. Unlike many cruisers, the Speedmaster has a fuel tank that holds a generous 5.1 gallons, meaning you can actually cruise somewhere. Choose Phantom Black or Cranberry Red.
$8299 to $8599
You want custom? You got it. The America cruiser became a bigger and better motorcycle when the air/oil-cooled, jet-black (with chromed covers), fuel-injected parallel-Twin grew from 790 to 865cc several years ago, and the 270-degree crank in this version gives that engine the “American” character it deserves. This classically styled cruiser gets a 16-/15-inch cast-wheel/fat-tire combo for that long, low look, and its 27.1-inch seat height means you don’t have to be NBA material to ride it. A pullback handlebar and footpegs not too far forward complete the “easy rider” theme. Two-tone paint adds $300 to the MSRP.
If only we could age as gracefully (and slowly) as the Bonneville. Triumph freshened the styling in 2009, driving the iconic model into the 1970s, the first big styling change since the bike debuted in 2001. Those upswept mufflers, shorter fenders, low seat and cast-alloy wheels help alter the look. Like the other Bonnie-based bikes, the air/oil-cooled 865cc parallel-Twin is fuel injected, though the throttle bodies are designed to look like carburetors. Also available: The Bonneville SE, with single color or two-tone paint, a tachometer, polished engine covers and tank badges.
Like all good manufacturers, Triumph recognizes that adventure riders sometimes want a street-oriented ride, sometimes they want the full Monty, so to speak. Call in the new Tiger 800XC. Based on the Tiger 800, the XC features more dirt-oriented tire sizes (21 -in. front, 17 rear) with longer-travel suspension (8.7 in. front, 8.5 rear, compared with 7.1/6.7). The XC’s three-cylinder engine is identical to the Tiger 800’s, including electronic fuel injection and a high-capacity, 500watt generator. Also available: The Tiger 800XC ABS, the same bike but with anti-lock braking that can be switched off for goat-track forays.
Practicality has many faces, and the Tiger 800 shows at least two. First, the very nature of an adventure bike is as a do-anything, wide-focus machine; the Tiger 800 complies, with a fully upright riding position, an adjustable-height seat (and an optional lower saddle), standard windshield and practical racks out back. Second, the 800 tosses aside the idea that adventure comes in liter-sized doses only; the liquid-cooled Triple provides ample horsepower (94 at 9300 rpm) without the heft of Triumph’s bigger adventure bikes. Also available: The Tiger 800ABS, the very same bike equipped with anti-lock braking.
Already one of the great rides in the middleweight sportbike class, the Daytona 675 is also available as an “R”-model for trackday use and serious backroad bombing. Among its impressive upgrades are a 43mm Öhlins NIX30 fork and TTX36 shock—top-shelf pieces usually found only on pure racebikes and exotic customs—and premium Brembo radial brake components up front instead of the standard 675’s Nissin units. An electronic quickshifter, numerous carbonfiber body pieces and a white-and-black paint scheme round out the package. Claimed power output remains the same at 124 hp and 53 ft.-lb. of torque.
There’s no need to feel second-class if you don’t want to spring for the 675R; few other sportbikes on the market offer as much performance and personality as the 675. It is competitive with every middle-weight repli-racer out there, no matter the manufacturer or country of origin. Its low weight and excellent power characteristics from the 675cc three-cylinder engine have kept it at the top of the performance list year after year. Fully adjustable suspension includes highand low-speed compression damping, providing a better compromise between track prowess and road comfort.
Street Triple R
Take a standard Street Triple, give it full preload/rebound/ compression damping capabilities in its Kayaba fork, a piggyback-reservoir Kayaba shock that provides 10mm of additional rear-wheel travel (while steepening the steering-head angle by 0.4 degrees and shortening trail by 2.9mm), switch to radial-mount, four-piston front brakes (instead of the standard model’s two-piston, non-radials) and bolt on a radial master cylinder. Now you have the Street Triple R, a terrific track-day bike and backroad bomber that retains all the fun of the donor Street Triple but with even better suspension and stopping power.
Street Triple 675
For 2102, the Street Triples get an aesthetic update, now sporting bold new colors/graphics, brushed metal finishes and the non-bug-eye headlights that debuted last year on big bro Speed Triple. The revvy/ torquey Triple remains and allows the ST to be one of the just plain funnest-to-ride bikes on the market of any size or brand. Light weight, friendly ergonomics and an agile chassis all combine to make it so. Engine tune is weighted a bit toward lower-end power, but the Triple nonetheless retains the howling, 13,500-rpm redline of the previous-generation Daytona 675 engine.
These Russian reproductions of a WWII BMW sidecar rig all were greatly improved several years ago with modern lighting, ignition, electronics and switches, along with Keihin carburetors and Brembo front disc brakes. The Forest Fog has on-demand two-wheel drive, a leading-link front suspension, a tonneau cover and even a separate sidecar headlight. Also available: The Patrol, Patrol T and Tourist are variations on Ural's basic Gear Up sidecar platform; and the T is a one-wheel-drive, no-frills model that allows a rider to own a classic sidecar rig for under $10,000.
This sidecar rig pays homage to the M72, a copy of a BMW R71 that Ural first built in 1942. It was used by Russian troops in the Battle of Stalingrad and was considered a rugged, all-terrain vehicle capable of carrying heavy loads. The two-wheel-drive M70 has a telescopic fork and an M72replica tonneau cover, plus it comes with a spare tire and a shovel, and it even has a machine-gun mount (sorry, machine gun not included). Also available: The Retro is the same basic machine but with gloss black paint instead of olive drab and a bit less military-style hardware.
$7799 to $8799
Ural’s sidecar rigs are driven by a motorcycle, so it makes sense that the company would also offer a single-track model. The Solo sT is essentially the same bike as attached to Ural’s Retro and M70 sidecar models, both of which have a Marzocchi telescopic fork instead of the leading-link front suspension on the Gear Up models. But the sT gets all of the same engine and electronic upgrades as the sidecar line, along with Brembo disc brakes and Sachs shocks fitted with progressive springs. The standard model is black with a solo seat, but numerous upgrades are available.
For dyed-in-the-wool scooter aficionados, the GTV 300 is the benchmark of classically styled scooters. The modern, GTS-based chassis and fuel-injected four-stroke engine deliver the performance and reliability today’s riders absolutely demand, while its Portofino Green or Siena Ivory paint schemes hark back to the early Vespas. Completing the retro look and timeless functionality are a hand-stitched, two-piece leather saddle, chromed handlebars, front and rear racks, and a low, fender-mounted headlamp like that of the original 1946 Vespas. Who says you can’t go home again?
GTS 300 Super/GTS 300
Although the GTS 300 Super’s outer appearance projects an unmistakable retro style, beneath that classic skin resides a thoroughly modern powertrain based upon a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected four-stroke engine that is quite capable of propelling the 300 to more than 80 mph. The Granturismo Sport (GTS) Super features a few added styling touches such as black alloy wheels, a red front-suspension spring and a black sport saddle that opens to reveal a spacious storage bin. Also available: The GTS 300 shares the same engine and chassis as the Super but has more subtle styling.
LX 150 i.e./LXV150 i.e./LX 50 4V
Vespa’s LX (the Roman numeral for 60) models were introduced back in 2006, the year the Italian scooter builder celebrated its 60th year in business. The festivities haven’t ended, though, as the wasp-shaped two-wheelers continue to provide economical transportation that is rich in both heritage and style. The LX 150 will nudge 60 mph and should deliver 72 mpg when ridden with a frugal throttle hand. Also available: A vintage-look LXV version of the 150 is available for another $800; and the LX 50 is fundamentally the same scooter but with a 49cc engine.
S 150 i.e./S 50 4V
Yell “Vespa” near an Italian schoolyard, and kids will likely scatter in fear of getting stung. Vespa means "Wasp” in Italian, and the distinctive shape these scooters share is all that’s needed to understand the origin of their name. On the flip side, park a modern Vespa in front of a coffee house, and a few caffeinated cats are certain to swarm, drawn in by the Vespa’s legendary status and nostalgic appeal. The funky rectangular mirrors and headlamps are a reflection of the more recent past while mechanically, the 150 is similar to the LX and LXV models. Also available: The S 50 4K basically the same scoot but with a 50cc four-stroke motor.
Victory’s cool “bagger,” built on the same innovative aluminum frame as its way-outside-the-box Vision, was all-new in 2010 and immediately impressed with its stout, 106-inch V-Twin engine, batwing fairing, big storage capacity and cool standard features like cruise control and a powerful sound system. The Cory Ness (son of Arlen, renowned custom builder) version of that bike takes all that and runs with it. For 2012, each numbered and signed CNCC sports a beautiful Boardwalk Blue paint scheme with Ness graphics, a custom suede seat, billet wheels, custom highway bar, diamond-cut cooling fins and a whole lot more.
Arlen Ness Vision
Victory’s futuristic over-the-road touring rig already had it all, but for those discriminating types for whom enough never is, there’s the Arlen Ness version. This one bristles with custom Ness touches from stem to stern, including a Nuclear Sunset flame paintjob, Ness hot-rod billet wheels, diamond-cut cooling fins on that big Freedom V-Twin, flamed engine covers and grips, a stitched leather seat, Arlen Ness windshield graphic...the list goes on, but one glance is all you need to know that this one is special.
Cross Country Tour
A new model for 2012, the CCT builds upon the popular Cross Country to provide an even more capable traveling motorcycle. What was once an optional tail trunk becomes standard equipment to give this bike 41.1 gallons of baggage capacity, the most of any motorcycle out there, says Victory. A bigger windscreen atop the handlebarmount fairing mates up with new lowers to punch a bigger, cleaner hole in the air. Natch, there’s iPod connectivity integrated with the audio system, cruise control, heated grips and seat, etc.—all of it propelled by a claimed 97 hp and 113 ft-lb. of air-cooled V-Twin torque.
Victory’s stylish over-the-road touring rig has everything you need to travel first class: 29.2 gallons of storage capacity, cruise control, a four-speaker sound system, electric windscreen, dual-zone heated seat and grips, and ABS are all standard. A strong aluminum frame ties it all together with the 106-inch, 8-valve V-Twin and fat radial tires to come up with a semi-classic-looking American touring rig that goes, stops and comers in as modem a fashion as its looks imply. And the fact that the Vision may look a tad too modern for many buyers can be your gain: For 2012, the MSRP is $3K less than in 2011.
A new model two years ago and a big hit for Victory, the CC is recognized by its handlebar-mounted batwing fairing and sleek saddlebags—good for 21 gallons of gear—and an optional Lock and Ride trunk is available if you need more. The trunk locks into place in seconds and comes with a backrest and a pair of speakers. There’s an MP3-compatible stereo system in that fairing, and the bike also rolls out with cruise control and ABS. A 97-hp Freedom V-Twin working through a six-speed overdrive gearbox keeps things relaxed, while air-adjustable rear suspension with 4.7 inches of wheel travel cushions the blows.
With its apehanger handlebar, this latest Victory looks a bit like last year’s High-Ball, but the new Hard-Ball is in fact completely different. This one’s built on the excellent cast-aluminum Vision touring platform and rolls on 18-in. front/16-in. rear wire-spoked wheels instead of the High-Ball’s 16-in. whitewalls. The dual seat and 21 gallons of lockable storage in those hard bags mean you’ll be more tempted to go more places. And with its longer wheelbase, greater heft and more fuel capacity than the High-Ball, this new bagger should be up to the long-distance task.
This upscale version of Victory’s base cruiser is built with enough moto-jewelry to boost its MSRP well up the price scale. It comes in black or two wild-looking two-tones (with color-matched frame), along with airy-looking custom billet wheels, a 250mm-wide, 18-inch tire out back and a skinny, 21-incher up front on a raked-out fork. It’s powered by the company’s 106-inch V-Twin, good for 97 hp and 113 ft.-lb. of torque and driving through a six-speed overdrive gearbox. And there’s three inches of rear wheel travel tucked under that low seat.
The Hammer S is 106 cubic inches of Freedom V-Twin cranking out 97 horses and 113 ft-lb. of torque through a six-speed gearbox, all con tained within a double-downtube steel frame decked out with a spiffy, two-tone paint treat ment and highlighted by a blacked-out, 2-into-2 exhaust system. This cruiser has a sturdy inverted fork, dual front disc brakes and a fat, 250-section rear radial tire. Also available: The Hammer 8-Ball is the same basic machine but dressed in basic black and fitted with but one 300mm front disc.
This is sort of Victory’s touring blank canvas. The company’s CORE program lets you choose Black or Crimson paint, 21-gallon hard or 17.4-gallon leather saddlebags, forged or tubular crashbars, windshield—tall, short or none at all—and off you roll. An inverted fork, triple disc brakes and plenty of room for two are part of the deal. Also available: The Cross Roads Classic Limited Edition sweetens the deal with white-stitched seat and bags, chromed wire-spoked wheels, chromed bumpers, numbered badging and black (with special graphics) paint.
Zach Ness Vegas
The Vegas is Victory’s base cruiser and is known by the raised spine running along its fenders and split-tail gas tank, and by its 21/18-inch wheel combo. Some Vegases, however, are way less basic than others, and the Zach Ness model is right up there. Arlen Ness’s grandson has done this one up in Suede Metallic Titanium paint and graphics, billet wheels, custom handlebar, custom stitched leather seat, chrome exhaust, billet mirrors, pegs and grips, and a numbered plaque. The 113 ft.-lb. of torque is standard propulsion fare on all Vegas models.
Victory’s full-fendered classic cruiser is stylish in its Pearl White/Vogue Silver two-tone paint and backs up its looks with torque-heavy performance delivered by a 106-inch V-Twin engine hooked to a refined six-speed gearbox. Full-length floorboards and a pullback handlebar help , the rider enjoy a laid-back cruising experience. g gb> Under a seat that’s a mere 26.5 inches high resides nearly 4 inches of supple, air-adjustable rear-wheel travel, well complemented by the 5.1 inches of travel provided by the beefy inverted fork up front.
Victory’s “entry-level” cruiser offers a lot of looks and performance for not a lot of dough. Its 106-cubic-inch V-Twin is rated by Victory at 97 hp and 113 ft.-lb. of torque, and it’s mated with a six-speed overdrive transmission. A way-low seat and a pullback handlebar combine to deliver a comfortable riding position. Options include heated grips and electronic cruise control, as well as red/white or blue/white paint schemes and lots of chrome. Also available: The Vegas 8-Ball is the same machine but with a solo seat and a full blacked-out treatment that drops the MSRP by $2000.
Raise your hands if you like apehangers, and then keep ’em up there—which is no problem on the High-Ball. This distinctive Victory makes a statement with its high-rise handlebar, low solo seat, Suede Black paint and 16-inch whitewalls on chrome spoked wheels—a strong statement that its 106-inch V-Twin is happy to back up. And if you like the bike but aren’t crazy about armpit-aerating handlebars, you can fold the bars down to get them closer to your body. Plus, Victory has some alternative bars available, along with a plethora of pipes, mirrors, bags... because one size does not fit all.
Sport-touring is a compromise, to be sure, but the FJR1300 leans toward the sport side of the ledger. Want proof? How about 145 claimed hp and 99 ft.-lb. of torque, all harnessed by a lightweight aluminum frame and swingarm with a single shock? Anti-lock brakes are standard equipment, as are heated grips. Touring amenities have not been ignored, either: A height-adjustable saddle, an electrically adjustable windscreen and two sizable, securely mounted—but quickly and easily detachable—hard saddlebags cover the long-hauler’s needs commendably.
The much-anticipated Super Ténéré tackles the BMW R1200GS and KTM 990 Adventure head-on with an 1199cc parallel-Twin engine featuring throttle-by-wire, a two-position “D-Mode” engine-response selector and traction control. Using a dry-sump design to reduce engine height, the Twin has a 270-degree crank for improved traction and balance shafts for smooth running. Linked brakes and ABS are standard, and the street-biased tires ride on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear hoops. Fans of the tuning fork have for years been asking for a serious, big-inch adventure tourer, and Yamaha has at last responded.
Thanks to its crossplane-crankshaft technology, the R1 already had one of the smoothest power deliveries of all the one-liter sportbikes. But now, the 2012 model’s traction-control system with seven levels of intervention should allow controlled acceleration anytime, anywhere. Variable-length intake funnels and a ride-by-wire throttle system combine with new ECU settings for improved delivery in the lower and middle rpm ranges. The aluminum chassis uses a fully adjustable fork and shock, and an electronic steering damper. Also available: The YZF-R1 World GP 50th Anniversary Edition in Pearl White/Rapid Red.
When you look at this year’s new crop of street standards with sportbike roots, remember that Yamaha was already there with the FZ1. Its engine is from an older-generation YZF-R1—no slouch, in other words, with 150 claimed hp on tap, and now with updated injection mapping for improved throttle response. But FZls have always been about more than just speed. The bike has a genuine tubular handlebar that puts the grips in a rational position, and the other two parts of the ergonomic trilogy—seat and footpeg location—are situated with comfort in mind. Its half-fairing provides good wind protection and is filled with a comprehensive instrument array.
Filling the gap between middleweight and liter-class naked bikes is Yamaha’s FZ8. Its engine, heavily based on the pre-crossplane YZF-R1/FZ1 motor, is essentially a sleeved-down version with a new cylinder head, forged pistons and revised electronic fuel injection. The goal? Steady, torque-biased power to reside between the high-revving push of a 600 and the often intimidating rush of a 1 OOOcc machine. Matched to this power unit is an aluminum frame, FZl-style upright ergonomics and an aggressive, decidedly naked stance.
$7590 to $7690
Achieving sportbike spec at the budget end of the spectrum is a difficult compromise, but the FZ6R balances the books well. A 600cc inline-Four based on a previous generation of the vaunted YZF-R6’s engine resides in a steel-tube frame with near-sportbike-caliber geometry. But what’s more important in this category is value (check), utility (full fairing, other amenities; check) and performance (double check!). The FZ6R’s suspension and brakes are close enough to the latest items to delight most buyers, especially the new riders that Yamaha is clearly targeting.
It wasn’t long ago that middleweight sportbikes were a notch down the technology totem pole. Not today, and the YZF-R6 is proof. Its high-revving inline-Four enjoys ride-by-wire throttle, variable-length velocity stacks and engineering measures to reduce internal friction—and that’s horsepower in your back pocket. And the high-quality suspension is fully adjustable. For sure, this is a good streetbike but probably the most hard-edged 600 on the market and one of the most satisfying to ride on the racetrack. Also available: The YZF-R6 in Pearl White/Rapid Red paint with a special numbered emblem on the tank.
Trying times welcome modest solutions. That’s why the lightweight dual-sport market is, if not exactly flourishing, at least seeing some growth. Yamaha’s WR250R is not only at home in the dirt but makes a great suburban runabout. The electric-start-only, dohc Single uses titanium intake valves and electronic fuel injection, a first on a Yamaha dual-purpose bike. Further back is an EXUP exhaust valve for a broader powerband. True to its off-road pretensions, the WR250R has a 21/18-inch front/rear wheel combination so you can spoon on your favorite pure-dirt tires.
Just how many of Yamaha’s ubiquitous XT250 (and its predecessor, the XT225) have been hauled to campsites over the years? Uh, only about a zillion. That’s clear evidence that this mild-spec, budget-friendly dual-purpose bike is clearly up to the task, thanks in no small part to its peppy, 249cc engine and wideratio five-speed transmission. Rims that will accept real dirt-oriented tires make the XT worthy of more than a campground buzz, too; with its reasonable suspension travel and dual disc brakes, the XT has the goods to be a fine entry-level dirt trainer as well as a useful, street-legal runabout.
Iconoclasts are everywhere, and sooner or later, you’ll probably see one riding a TW200. This fattired wonder has been the darling of campgrounds from Bar Harbor to Pismo Beach. Few street-legal dual-purpose machines are as easy to manage in sand as the TW, yet it remains a fine, versatile streetbike as long as you don’t envision a lot of highway miles or triple-digit speeds (downhill, with a tailwind, maybe...). The built-in luggage rack is handy, the headlight shroud actually deflects some wind at speed and the TW can boast some terrific fuel mileage in everyday riding.
Several years back, a 250 was as big a scooter as you could buy. But like everything else in America, we’ve super-sized the concept, leading to 400 and even 650cc models. Makes sense: the convenience of a scooter, the power of a motorcycle, able to leave city limits and even tour two-up. The Majesty is powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-valve Single that spins to 8000 rpm and is smooth in the process, thanks to a counterbalancer. And frat rats take note: Under Her Majesty’s flip-up seat is 16 gallons of storage space, almost exactly a keg’s worth!
Imagine a Baja Bug on two wheels, a free-spirited, small and slightly wild-looking scooter that purportedly gets 89 miles per gallon and (unlike the Baja Bug) comes fully assembled. You’ve just described the Zuma 125. Its 125cc four-stroke Single features fuel injection and electric starting, four valves per cylinder and a V-belt automatic transmission. (You were expecting a seven-speed shift-yourown?) The Zuma 125 is light enough that you might just be able to sling it over your shoulder, yet it seats two with a modicum of under-cushion storage. Shouldn’t every garage have one?
The name is almost the same, but the former Zuma 50 two-stroke is born again as the Zuma 50F four-stroke. It’s powered by a liquid-cooled, 3-valve, fuel-injected, electric-start engine that Yamaha says is capable of achieving up to 132 mpg. If that claim is true, it means that despite its small, 1.2-gallon fuel capacity, the Zuma might be able to go almost 160 miles between fill-ups! One of the best features of most scooters is under-seat storage, and the 50F offers 23 liters of it despite the machine’s diminutive size. The fat tires are great around town, and if you take your Zuma camping, they’re good on dirt roads, too.
Here’s an off-road hot-rod that’s up for almost any kind of dirt work—enduro, cross-country or just good oF fun playriding. The WR450 is now fuel-injected, which promises to deliver smooth, stumble-free throttle response at any altitude or temperature. Electric starting simplifies refiring the motor when you are literally stalled between a rock and a hard place. The chassis is now based on that of the YZ250F motocrosser, providing light, agile handling. Suspension consists of a 48mm fork and fully adjustable shock, both by KYB; tool-less airbox access, Excel rims and a ProTaper handlebar are bonuses.
^ Enduro riders wish for competition-grade motocross machines to use on the trail, but the reality is often a long way from the fantasy. Not so for the WR250. Heavily based on the YZ250F motocrosser, the WR has revised camshaft profiles and valve timing intended to provide strong, hard-hitting low-end and midrange power. The WR’s close-ratio transmission has small steps between third, fourth and fifth gears to keep the high-revving, twin-cam, five-valve engine on the boil. Like the 450F, the 250 has both electric and kick starters, and is green-sticker-approved in California.
There’s a fine line between capability and intimidation, one that the TT-R230 straddles with confidence. It’s got an electric starter for the beginners (and the lazy experts) but also has considerable suspension travel and a foot of ground clearance (for the not-so-lazy experts). Yamaha describes the 230’s dohc, four-valve Single as “super reliable” with “widespread power,” both desirable traits for the nascent dirt donk. The generously padded seat doesn’t hurt long-range capabilities, either. Winning enduros isn’t in the TT-R’s bag of tricks, but just about everything else is.
You never wanted to share toys with your brothers and sisters, and now here’s a bike the whole family will glom onto. Oh, great. At least that’s the mission of the TT-R125LE, a crossover trailbike. Yamaha sized the TT-R to fit in between full-maturity enduro/trail models and small-tire minis. With a 19/16-inch wheel combination and a modest 31.7-inch seat height, the TT-R is manageable for the startup riders but won’t make dad look like he’s riding a Dartmoor Pony. A 1.6-gallon fuel tank keeps the fun going for hours on end. Our advice: Earn a buck and buy your own.
Beware the ankle biters. Yamaha’s TT-R110E is your basic tweener—a muscle mini with enough oomph never to be tail-end Charlie but small and light enough to give youthful confidence a much-needed boost. The 110 features styling inspired by the famous YZ line—right down to the Team Yamaha blue/white color scheme. It’s also easy to manage, weighing less than 160 pounds even though equipped with an electric starter and an automatic clutch between the four-speed transmission and the air-cooled Single. A low, 26.4 inch seat is allied with 7.1 inches of ground clearance. Go get 'em, boy!
Missing from Yamaha’s lineup since 2009, theTT-R50 returns for 2012, which should make kids everywhere jump for joy. This little fun machine is powered by a 49cc four-stroke engine with a three-speed transmission and an automatic clutch. Electric starting means your young one will be able to spend more productive time riding the bike instead of wasting time trying to kickstart it. Though the inverted fork and single shock don’t provide a huge amount of travel, they can tackle the bumps very well for a bike of this size, while drum brakes front and rear get it stopped. The low seat height invites young riders of all sizes to jump on and start having fun.
The PW50 makes learning to ride a motorcycle about as easy as possible, which is why we’d be willing to bet that more kids got their start riding one than just about any other machine. It’s got a fully automatic transmission, no shifting required; just twist and go. Final drive is by shaft, so no chain adjustment or messy lubing is necessary. Seat height is less than 20 inches, so even if they’re short for their age, kids fit and their boots will touch the ground at stops, a great confidence-booster for first-timers. It’s even got a centerstand so that at night, your little guy or gal can sneak out into the garage and sit on the PW, feet up, and make vroom-vroom sounds.
Yamaha turned motocross design orthodoxy around with the YZ450F, and refinements to the package continue to improve what already is an impressive machine. The YZ-F’s reversed cylinder-head layout places the intake at the front and the exhaust at the rear, with the cylinder leaning to the rear—all a bid to centralize mass for improved handling. Revised fuel-injection mapping for 2012 provides smoother low-end and midrange response, and the new exhaust silencer is longer to help the big YZ-F meet the increasingly strict sound requirements imposed by many racing organizations.
Lites-class four-stroke motocrossers may be the best all-around MX machines for experts and novices alike, and the YZ250F is one of the better ones. This year, the 250F gets a larger, 39mm carburetor (yes, Yamaha is sticking with a carb for at least one more year), a revised crankshaft, a lighter piston, a new air cleaner and a longer, quieter muffler. Yamaha claims those changes improve throttle response in the midto high-rpm range. The aluminum frame has been refined for improved rigidity, and fork offset was dropped from 25 to 22mm, increasing trail for better stability. The fully adjustable KYB front and rear suspension was recalibrated, as well.
Yamaha’s winning four-stroke motocrossers might receive the company’s latest engineering, but there are still great options for two-stroke fanatics, including the YZ250. A reed-valve smoker, the YZ250 benefits from Yamaha’s YPVS exhaust power valve and carbon-fiber reed valves to produce a remarkably broad spread of power. The frame and swingarm are aluminum structures fitted with long-travel KYB suspension. A gripper seat cover and an adjustable-mount ProTaper aluminum handlebar keep the rider in control. The titanium footpegs are a nice touch, too.
Maybe you thought that 250cc four-stroke motocrossers would render the 125 two-strokes extinct? Don’t get ahead of yourself, Darwin. As a natural steppingstone from the 85cc class to the big leagues, the YZ125 is a valuable teaching tool. It combines low weight and a potent two-stroke, reed-valve Single with an aluminum frame for incredible agility and impressive acceleration—yet it’s not such a handful that moving-up riders will feel intimidated. Fully adjustable suspension (of course) is allied with YZ250F-spec brakes, all for a price tag that neatly undercuts the YZ250 and the four-strokes.
The day your offspring finishes the chores early and looks at you with that “Gee, can I have a” stare is the day you start shopping 85cc motocrossers. And here’s a good one. Yamaha’s mini-moto fits comfortably between small-wheeled minibikes (and the sort) and full-fledged, adult-sized motocrossers. Its 85cc, liquid-cooled, reed-valve two-stroke Single is tuned for “hard-hitting, moto-winning power,” yet the bike’s compact dimensions and low weight give developing riders a shot of confidence. It also features a fully adjustable, long-travel Kayaba inverted fork and a link-type shock.
Yamaha has jumped into the factory custom arena with the Raider SCL, the first model of what the company calls the Star Custom Line. Only 500 of these special editions will be produced this year. The Raider SCL stands out from the crowd with Blazing Orange metalflake paint and chromed five-spoke custom wheels developed in collaboration with Performance Machine—as were the matching belt-drive pulley and guard. The two-tone leather seat is a work of art in itself. Beyond all the flashy paint and chrome is the same powerful, 48-degree V-Twin and smart-handling chassis found in the other Raider models.
This is Yamaha’s most stylish touring cruiser, with an aerodynamic, handlebar-mounted fairing prewired with speakers for your MP3 player, and color-matched hard saddlebags out back. And to prevent you from getting lost on the long rides the Strato can allow, a motorcycle-friendly Garmin Zumo 665 GPS receiver is included as standard. Power come from Star’s excellent 48-degree, four-valve -per-cylinder, pushrod V-Twin bolted to an aluminum frame to help reduce weight and improve chassis stiffness. Belt final drive helps keep the shiny parts, um, shiny. The only color this year is Liquid Silver.
Here’s a classically styled version of the Stratoliner fitted with a copbike windshield, leather-covered hard saddlebags and a removable passenger backrest. That drops the MSRP $1400 below that of the Deluxe model, but you still get the same thunderous, 48-degree V-Twin engine and solid, good-handling chassis; plus, you and your significant other can take weekend rides with enough stuff to keep both of you clean and smelling fresh as a daisy. If you sometimes decide you instead like the “naked” cruiser look, the windshield and bags detach quickly and easily.
When introduced back in 2006, this big cruiser so thoroughly impressed Cycle World's editors with its power, sound, overall good handling and “of-a-piece” art-deco styling that it was named Best Cruiser that year, and it remains the same solid, satisfying motorcycle. Its 48-degree, four-valve-per-cylinder engine is a powerhouse that hammers out impressive torque numbers across a wide rpm range while sounding like a modified V-Twin. Aiding in the torque department is an EXUP exhaust powervalve that boosts the foot-pound output in the 2500-3000-rpm range.
Cruisers continue to push to the extreme ends of the genre, and that’s why there’s a Raider. It takes the Star line across the tracks to the chopper side of town, and it has the stuff to back up the visual swagger. Fork tubes raked to 40 degrees, beefy 46mm fork tubes, turned-down exhaust pipes and some out-there angular styling all add up to a distinctive ride. Power comes via the same excellent 1854cc ohv V-Twin used in the Roadliner. A 210/40-18 rear tire completes the custom look. Also available: The Raider S, the same bike but with added chrome.
The term “icon” is used much too frequently and far too carelessly, but if there’s one bike that truly deserves that mantle, it’s the VMax. In 1985, the original V-Max impressed with power and scared with wobbly handling—and we loved it. But this iteration is built around a 65degree, 1679cc V-Four that blasts out a claimed 199 hp. Electronic intake control and ride-by-wire e-throttles deliver smooth response and a stout, linear power curve. And Modern Max has chassis prowess to spare, with a huge, 52mm fork and a beefy single shock. All this makes the VMax one of the most thrilling straight-line rides on the market.
Road Star Silverado S
In Yamaha-speak, Silverado means touring, as in leather saddlebags, a handlebar-mounted windshield and a backrest/sissybar applied to an otherwise naked cruiser. And in this instance, the Road Star Silverado S uses a 102-cubic-inch V-Twin powerplant and belt final drive. Cast wheels shod with 16-inch tires are at the ends of a bridge-like, 66.5-inch wheelbase. It’s long, low and handsome, and ready to hit the road. Also available: The Road Star S is the same motorcycle minus the saddlebags, windshield and passenger bacb-est.
V Star 1300 Tourer
A touring cruiser doesn’t necessarily have to displace almost two liters to get the job done. Example: the capable, comfortable V Star 1300 Tourer. Don’t let the cylinder finning fool you, either: This 60-degree V-Twin is liquid-cooled, its radiator tucked almost out of sight between the front downtubes. It has the usual over-the-road accoutrements—windshield, backrest and usefully sized leather-wrapped hard saddlebags. Its headlight shell and belt guards are finished in sparkling chrome that contrasts with the glossblack, steel-tube frame. This is a full-size, capable tourer at an excellent price.
$11,090 to $11,340
Choppers are hot. Matte-black, sinister paint schemes are hot. That must make the Star Stryker, well, just super-hot—sizzling like the surface of the sun, actually. But beneath the hyperbole, there’s an excellent motorcycle. Using a version of the V Star 1300’s liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin, the Stryker is built on a steel-tube frame that combines a radical, 40-degree fork rake with a more-rational 36-degree steering-head angle. The result is chopper looks with no bar-flop. And both fenders are no-kidding steel. All for just a bit more than 11 thou. Yep, that’s hot.
V Star 1300
So, you like the looks, size and price of the V Star 1300 Tourer but don’t have wanderlust, eh? If so, the V Star 1300 just may be your ride. Based on the same running gear as the Tourer, the straight-up V Star 1300 has a handlebar bend that places the grips closer to the rider, a dish-shaped seat and lots and lots of chrome. The rest is familiar: The 80-inch, 60-degree V-Twin is fuel-injected and features maintenance-free belt final drive. The steel-tube frame helps permit a long wheelbase, a low seat height and comfortable steering response.
Royal Star Venture S
We’re not talking about furniture when we call the Royal Star Venture S a dresser. You might argue, though, that the seat is as comfortable as a couch and that the hard luggage, all 33.6 gallons of it, could carry every nice piece of clothing you own. As ever, the Venture is Yamaha’s full-dress touring rig, fitted with every amenity, driven around by a durable, 79-inch V-Four whose sound makes the codgers who remember the original Venture a bit misty-eyed. And at just over $20K fully equipped, the Venture S might make your accountant wipe a tear of appreciation in your honor.
V Star 950 Tourer
Yamaha’s tactic with the Star line is to pepper the displacement classes with superlative cruisers at a price point and comfort level to suit just about any rider. That helps explain the V Star 950 Tourer, a “middleweight” machine that has the dipped-inchrome appearance of its larger, more-expensive brethren along with touring accoutrements for those with a serious travel urge—all at a very reasonable price. And this is no stripper: The 950’s air-cooled, 942cc engine has four-valve heads, fuel injection and a catalyst-equipped exhaust for smooth running and clean emissions.
V Star 950
It’s difficult to build a middleweight cruiser with break-out styling, exemplary fit and finish, and a high degree of what you might call “moto tech”—and to have a low sticker price at the end. Yamaha manages this trapeze act brilliantly with the V Star 950, which looks every bit the part of a long, menacing fiber-custom and backs it with the performance of a 942cc V-Twin. Sure, there’s one front disc instead of two, and the suspension isn’t adjustable, but the rider Yamaha is courting—moving up from a smaller bike or coming down from heavier machines just to enjoy the ride—won’t notice anything missing.
V Star 250
Don’t get offended when that cute co-ed admires your V Star 250 and blurts out, “Oh, it’s sooo cute!” This is not a jab; it’s a compliment. Really. Yamaha’s smallest cruiser has for years been the bike of choice for the beginning rider and the frugal commuter alike. The carbureted, 249cc V-Twin looks the part and provides ample thrust to keep you ahead of traffic. But the heart of the matter are three items on the spec sheet—a seat height of 27 inches, a wet weight of 324 pounds and a hang-tag with a mere $4190 printed on it. Now you can use the money you didn’t spend to take that co-ed to a movie.
Zero Motorcycles has made big strides for 2012, with the S model (and others) getting the a “Z-Force” battery pack that extends life and durability. The battery is also available in two capacities: 6 or 9 kW-h, which accounts for the price and curb-weight differences. As a result, claimed ranges are now 76 or 114 miles, respectively. A new motor with more power results in a claimed 88-mph top speed for the S, while regenerative braking (on all Zero’s street models) helps boosts range. Chassis geometry changes make for better handling on the S and DS, while improved brakes are featured across the line. Also available: The DS, a dual-sport version of the very same machine.
Zero’s MX bike is an off-road-only machine meant for trail and track riding and it has seen its share of improvements for 2012. Leading the way is a new motor with higher voltage that ups power and efficiency. In fact, range is claimed to have been improved by 75 percent, with an increase in power of 33 percent. Styling is freshened up, also. Also available: The Zero X, a street-legal version of the same basic machine, and the XU, an urban commuter with shorter-travel suspension and belt final drive instead of chain.