It seems like throwback bikes are hot again, and so are sport bikes. That was evident in the previous EICMA and Intermot events where bike makers unwrapped their newest creations — ranging from retro-style cruisers to sleek sportbikes. For now, we’ll have to believe what the marketing copy says about these bad boys. But the biking community will separate the winners from the wannabes with time.
Until then, here are some of the motorcycles that have already stirred emotion within the biking community.
Indian FTR 1200
Of all the things people expected from India, unveiling a seriously cool, high-end bike that costs more than the newest Harley Davidson was the last thing on their minds. It seems the bike maker is serious about giving the big boys a run for their money.
The FTR 1200 is like no other moto in the Indian motorcycle line-up. It comes with 1,230cc unit capable of cranking out a whopping 120hp, which is more than sufficient for its weight. They also gave it 43mm inverted shocks, Big Brembo brakes and an adjustable mono-shock suspension at the back. The team’s aim with the FTR 1200 was to design a world-class bike, and they did it without cutting any corners.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX 10RR
Kawasaki has been hard at work in the past couple of months, trying to outdo every other player in the motorcycle space. They released several bikes this year, but the ZX 10RR seems to be the star of their entire 2019 collection.
However, the ZX 10RR is not really a new bike. The bike maker took the 2018 model and gave it a body upgrade – that does little to improve aesthetics, but compensated that by adding a ton of new technology and a generous powerband. There’s new instrumentation, an electronic gear shifter, LED lights and new rubber. But, they reused the 636cc motor from the 2013 ZX-3R.
2019 is not all about bikes designed for people with deep pockets. The affordable 300cc class has received a ton of attention from bike makers recently. But the Honda CB300R stands out from the herd. It solves the ergonomics issue that plagues the 300cc family, and it does it beautifully.
This bike is easy to handle, comfortable, and can do 120km/h all day long. And it is quite an improvement of its predecessor, the CB300F that came with naked-bike styling. The team gave the R more “meat” while keeping the weight down in favour of performance, leaving it looking sportier. Plus, it comes in two flavours, one with ABS and another one without it. Buyers can save a couple of hundred by opting for the non-ABS version of the CB300R.
2019 BMW R 1250 GS
BMW has been leading the adventure bike niche for over three decades now. And every bike in the GS series seems to outdo its predecessor significantly. For 2019, the team introduced the R 1250 GS that comes packing a 1,254cc unit with 134 horses. It also features the all-new ShiftCam – a system that controls power delivery across the powerband.
In all honesty, the R 1200 GS came with a pretty powerful motor that needed no improvement. But the team decided to add little more power to an already well-endowed bike for a reason. Maybe it’s a reaction to customer feedback, or BMW is trying to stay on top of the Euro 5 emissions regulations that go live in 2020. Whatever their reason, they made the ultimate adventure bike that is a lot of fun to ride – on and off-road.
2019 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
This Harley Davidson Sportster is one of the most successful bikes the American bike maker has ever made. It has been in continuous production since 1957 and buyers are still interested. This year, Harley added more than just a bigger rotor and a bump in displacement. They redesigned the ergonomics to make it more comfortable and also gave it a solo seat to make it feel roomier. Everything else remains pretty much the same as the 883’s including the chassis, tires, suspension, and geometry.