Well, it’s that time of year again, when Christmas becomes a fast-fading memory and we all start crafting New Year’s resolutions. But rather than making a list of commitments we’ll struggle to keep, we thought it would be a lot more fun to look ahead and create a list of the 10 motorcycles we most look forward to riding in 2014. By this, we mean production machines we haven’t ridden yet, but need to get on as soon as possible. Without further ado, our list:
BMW R nineT
It’s clear that BMW’s designers have had lots of fun with the naked R nineT roadster, and we want so see if the bike’s dynamics back up those great looks. The R nineT, which celebrates the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad, goes after a hipper, more contemporary crowd with its stripped looks, rich textures, and black wheels, plus an available brushed-aluminum tail section that transforms this new German into a café racer of sorts. We’re glad BMW has chosen to power the R nineT with the air- and oil-cooled version of the company’s 1170cc boxer engine because it’s more in character with this elemental machine than the liquid-cooled flat-twin found in other BMWs such as the R1200GS. On sale in March.
Read more: 2014 BMW R nineT – First Look
Ducati Monster 1200
For 20 years, the Monster has been a huge success for Ducati, growing continually more powerful along the way. And now there’s an all-new Monster 1200 on the horizon continuing that tradition. It’s called the 1200, and its powered by the liquid-cooled 11-degree Testastretta 1198 engine that makes 135 hp in the base model and 145 in the 1200 S. Yes, that’s the Diavel engine, and it’s mounted in a bike that’s much bigger than before, with a wheelbase 2.4 in. longer than the Monster 1100 Evo’s. Claimed weight of the big new 2014 Monster, fitted with a huge 4.6-gallon fuel tank, is 460 pounds. The Monster 1200 costs $13,495; the S goes for $15,995.
Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500
As Harley’s first all-new model in 13 years, the Street is hugely important, a bike aimed at the young urban buyers from around the world who were described by one exec as Harley’s “path to the future.” Streets for the US market are built in Harley’s Kansas City plant, and they’re powered by an all-new liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin with chain-driven single overhead camshafts that operate four valves per cylinder. Called the Revolution X and smoothed by a single balance shaft, this powerplant helps keep the seat height and center of gravity low, which is important because the Street—which weighs 480 pounds gassed up and ready to ride—is positioned as a first bike, one with significantly more suspension travel than a Sportster. But will it sound like a Harley?
MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
With regard to MV Agusta’s new sport-touring bike, boss Giovanni Castiglioni says there was no point in copying the BMW GS example. “To us, a BMW GS is like a Range Rover. With the new Turismo Veloce 800, we aspired to create a Porsche Panamera.” To accomplish this, MV designed a new frame and powered it with the company’s familiar 798cc triple, which is controlled by the latest MVICS electronics offering eight levels of traction control and three riding modes. With its trick TFT dash, standard quickshifter, and hard bags (on the Lusso model), the new Turismo Veloce, which has claimed weights of 428 lb. (base) and 456 lb. (Lusso), really looks like a sportbike tailor-made for a weekend trip up California’s Highway 1.
Just about everything is new with BMW’s big boxer-powered tourer for 2014. Most important, the main frame is stronger, and the rider triangle formed by the handlebars, seat and footpegs has been lowered nearly an inch (20mm) to make it easier for shorter riders to reach the ground. Moreover, new bodywork with the power-adjustable windscreen is said to offer riders much better weather protection. Perhaps more significant, the air- and liquid-cooled 1170cc boxer has been fitted with a heavier crankshaft and alternator that smoothens the powertrain and makes the bike harder to stall. Neat tech: Hill Start Control is available, which will keep your R1200RT from rolling backward while you’re starting on an uphill slope. San Francisco riders, take note.
Read more: 2014 BMW R1200RT – First Look
While we’re still not certain if KTM will ever import the RC390 into the US, that just makes us all the more eager to ride this race-ready little bike as soon as possible. Just check out the specs: With a claimed dry weight of only 324 pounds and a liquid-cooled 373cc four-stroke single that puts out 43 horsepower, this electric-start KTM should be a kick to ride on twisty roads or a track, aided by aggressive chassis geometry, WP suspension, and good brakes that feature a radially mounted four-pot front caliper with a 300mm disc. With its one-piece trellis frame that’s stiffer than the 390 Duke’s, plus a steering-head angle decreased to 23.5 degrees for quicker response, KTM’s RC390 is like a Moto3 racebike for the street.
To get back into the heavyweight cruiser category, Honda has stuffed the latest version of its 1832cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine into an all-new aluminum twin-spar frame and created the Valkyrie, a bike that should accelerate like a scalded cat because it weighs 150 pounds less than a Gold Wing. Like the Rune before it, the 2014 Honda Valkyrie features a single-sided swingarm, and its seat is only 28.8 inches off the pavement, helping it appeal to shorter riders. The Valkyrie has a modern look, thanks in part to an LED headlight, taillight, and turn signals, plus digital LCD instruments. Accessories include short and tall windscreens, plus saddlebags. Look for the Valkyrie to arrive in April.
Read more: 2014 Honda Valkyrie – First Look
Yeah, we know that only 500 are being built, but the Ducati Superleggera (super lightweight in Italian) may well be the ultimate sportbike. At $65,000, it ain’t cheap, but it’s a technological tour de force that weighs a claimed 342 lb. dry, or 390 lb. in wet, ready to ride, form. The Superleggera’s 1198cc V-twin, said to have more than 200 horsepower, has had its crankshaft significantly reduced in mass, and titanium intake valves are now employed. Titanium is also used for the exhaust, and even for the coil spring that winds around the Öhlins TTX36 shock. Moreover, lightweight magnesium is used liberally on the bike, most noticeably in the pyramidal structure that acts as front section of the frame and airbox. Although the Superleggera is an extreme bike that’s essentially custom-built, it’s backed by Ducati’s two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
Motus MST & MST-R
As a pair of big American-made sport-tourers powered by a longitudinally mounted pushrod V-4, the Moti are loaded with torque: a claimed 120 pound-feet that peaks at only 5800 rpm. This means these Alabama-built bikes can tackle the twisties without needing to be shifted all the time, while also being able to cruise on the highway with the engine spinning a claimed 3,000 rpm in top gear at 70 mph. With Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension, and OZ wheels, the new Moti boast some big-name hardware, and the company tells us the bikes have a range of 250 miles. The standard MST has a claimed 160 hp; the MST-R, the one with the red valve covers, 180. We hope to ride a production Motus soon.
Read more: 2014 Motus MST and MST-R – First Look
Honda CBR1000RR SP
While Honda’s CBR1000RR hasn’t been the fastest or most advanced literbike for the last few years now, we’ve always liked it. And this SP version will likely make us like it more, courtesy of Öhlins suspension, Brembo front brakes and racier ergonomics brought about by new clip-ons and footpegs. This Honda may not have traction control, but its engine is essentially blueprinted, thanks to pistons and connecting rods are hand picked for best balance. That, together with a new cylinder head and exhaust, is good for an undisclosed bump in horsepower and torque. While it’s strange to see a Honda sporting Brembos, Öhlins and Pirelli tires (Diablo Supercorsa SCs), this SP, estimated at $17,000, could either be a swan song for the CBR or a prelude to an RC of some sort.
Read more: 2014 Honda CBR1000RR SP – First Look
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