If you thought 2016 was a damn good year for motorcycles, get ready: 2017 is shaping up to be even better. The International Motorcycle Show was here in NYC this past weekend, and all the industry’s biggest brands (plus one new one) had their best on display. Most of the bikes had already been revealed prior to the show, like the 2017 Ducati Monster. But this was the first time North America got to see them in the metal, and some promising trends are beginning to manifest. If the show floor at the Javits Convention Center is anything to go by, 2017 can’t come soon enough.
BMW aimed for a particular demographic with the R NineT, which the brand admits it failed to reach, mainly because of the high price point. So to remedy that, we were treated to the slightly more affordable R NineT GS and R NineT Racer. The styling of the former is inspired by Beemer’s Dakar Rally bike, while the latter is a beautiful interpretation of a classic grand prix bike. The practice of making old new again is definitely an industry-wide trend.
Ducati already unveiled its new models at EICMA earlier this year, but the bikes are even more stunning in person. The 1299 Superleggera is 368 pounds soaking wet, and that’s down to the carbon fiber, frame, sub-frame and wheels — you basically get a World Superbike race bike with a license plate, for $80,000. The Supersport is Ducati’s newest entry into the sport-standard realm and, based on looks alone, you can be sure it’ll beast of a machine.
The Rebel 500 and 300 show Honda dipping its toes into the sensibly styled retro trend, and you can’t fault the brand for it; the standard Rebel was getting a bit long in the tooth. The new bobber styling is a welcome injection of curb appeal.
Indian has been taking the cruiser market by storm these past couple years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. On display was the tastefully done custom Scout Red Wing Edition and the new FTR750 flat track racer — the one that’s already winning races. Now all Indian needs to do is put the damn thing into production so the rest of us can have one.
As the rest of the industry reaches for the past for design cues, KTM is confidently marching into the future. The KTM Superduke R, RC390 and 1290 Super-Adventure were the main attractions at the KTM stand, and they were all sporting KTM’s new advanced look.
Vanguard is the new kid on the block. The brand only had a single running model on display, but it’s set to go into production in the next year or two. The bike is very much rooted in the industrial and minimalist schools of design — all the plumbing and wiring has been integrated directly into the bike, which is comprised of three modular sections and held together with only five bolts. It helps that the engine is a stressed member of the frame, but in striving for simplistic design, you can’t help but worry if the bike is needlessly over-engineered.
The main attraction at the Yamaha stand was definitely the 2017 FZ-10. Fitted with the R1’s 998cc inline-four mill, the FZ-10 is just a naked superbike with a host of new electronics and upgrades.