As the mercury dips and snow threatens, the riding community in the northern portion of the continent wistfully prepare their bikes for hibernation. Winter is here and even the best cold-weather gear won’t keep you shiny-side-up once the snow hits the streets. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. As daily commuters are being covered up, the wraps are being pulled off of the newest crop of two-wheeled temptations — and there is much to be excited about. Regardless of what turns your crank — scramblers, cafe racers, street fighters, superbikes, baggers or ADV bikes — the OEM’s pulled out all of the stops at this year’s EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori). Using the show as a launching point, here are 10 new models that have us convinced 2016 will be a tantalizing year for motorcycles.
Clearly influenced by the multitude of trends fueling the custom motorcycle scene, the Yamaha XSR900 is a flat-tracker styled naked that looks to be the embodiment of fun. A 115 horsepower, 847cc in-line triple (lifted from the current FZ-09) powers the 430-pound machine, which, combined with its upright riding position, 25-degree rake and 103mm trail, should make it an incredibly nimble and lively bike. ABS and traction control are standard; knee sliders are extra.
BMW R nineT Scrambler
There were approximately 736 scramblers showcased at EICMA this year, but the BMW R nineT version is the only one you need be concerned about. The Bavarian’s version of the go-anywhere, do-anything classic is powered by the same air-cooled, 110 horsepower, 1170cc boxer-twin from their standard retro-racer R nineT, but features longer travel suspension, revised geometry and a taller seat height (32.3 inches). The high-mount exhaust — a scrambler hallmark — and optional Karoo 3 knobby tires shred any off-road excuses.
Bimota Tesi 3D Cafe Racer
The chances of seeing the Bimota Tesi 3D Cafe Racer on North American soil reside between slim and none. And that’s a travesty. Bimota’s continued experiments with hub-centered steering and its insistence on CNC machining create the most exquisite-looking machines on two wheels. Powered by a re-tuned version of the Ducati Scrambler‘s 803cc L-Twin engine, and tipping the scales at a mere 357 pounds, this Tesi will spur some queries into import possibilities.
Triumph Thruxton R
After 15 years in which very little changed, Triumph’s Bonneville lineup was a little long in the tooth. 2016’s updates are worth the wait. Topping that line is the Thruxton R, Triumph‘s most powerful and focused cafe racer to date. An all-new 1200cc engine develops 62 percent more torque than the outgoing model, and everything else has been beefed up to suit. With Ohlins piggyback shocks at the rear, fully adjustable Showa forks up front and dual floating disc Brembo binders, along with selectable electronic rider modes, the Thruxton R is the new standard for modern classic.
KTM 1290 SuperDuke GT
The 1290 SuperDuke R already stands in a class of its own. Now KTM have turned their maniacal street fighter into hellacious tourer. The R’s electronics package is carried over to the GT, but also includes semi-active WP suspension that automatically adjusts damping to suit loading and terrain as well as hill-hold control and engine-drag torque control. An upper fairing, cruise control, larger fuel cell and removable saddlebags add comfort and convenience, but its 1301cc, LC8 V-Twin hasn’t been tempered at all.
Indian Scout Sixty
Indian’s entry-level model, the Scout, is renowned for its well-tuned chassis, excellent road manners and lightweight feel in the saddle. Its punchy 100 horsepower engine and five-digit price tag, however, may have been a bit too much to lure new riders. The new Scout Sixty changes that. By packaging the same dynamic bike with a smaller, 60-cubic-inch V-Twin — which produces a more manageable 78 horsepower — Indian has created a compelling reason for riders to ignore the bar and shield. And it’s even more appealing with a price tag of $8,999.
Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro
I love the Ducati Multistrada 1200. It’s easily one of the finest ADV-styled sport tourers around. Now, Bologne’s finest have worked some magic to erase that “styled” descriptor. The Multistrada 1200 Enduro is designed to exceed where the standard Multi fails: off-road. To handle tough terrain, the Enduro features a larger 19-inch front wheel, optional knobby tires and Ducati’s Skyhook, fully adjustable suspension. The new off-road rider mode cuts output to 100 horsepower (from 160 horsepower) and eliminates the rear ABS to make sliding around in the dirt an easy affair.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is easily the most stunning motorcycle to debut at EICMA. The design language is fresh and forward-thinking without becoming lost and muddled. Every detail — from the “701” in the headlight to that artful finish in the exhaust — is exquisitely executed, while the monocoque tail separated by that blazing yellow line is pure moto sex. Husqvarna has confirmed that the smaller Vitpilen 401 will see the light of day, so there’s a good chance 701 will happen.
Honda Africa Twin
The original Honda Africa Twins were legendary in terms of their performance and capabilities, so branding a new bike with that iconic name means Honda had better deliver. To make sure it does, the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin was engineered with a centralized mass and low center of gravity as the overriding principals. It also features the most suspension travel in its class (9.1 inches front, 8.7 inches rear), a slender waistline and a 21-inch front wheel. The spec sheet and early reviews read like it’s one of the most capable ADV bikes on the market — something I’m anxious to verify for you.
Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress
It’s not often that a big cruiser, or “bagger,” grabs my attention. Its not that they’re no fun; it’s just that they don’t quite suit my style of riding. The Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress has me re-evaluating this opinion in a big way. Aside from those mag wheels, little has changed from the concept Guzzi debuted last year — and that’s a great thing. The notched tank and blazing red cylinder heads of the transverse-mounted Guzzi V-Twin look incredible, and the murdered-out, woven carbon fiber finish is stunning. The Flying Fortress is the most refreshing take on a staid style of motorcycle I’ve seen yet. Lord Vader, your bagger has arrived.