Introducing… the best new motorcycles for 2020
Introducing... the best new motorcycles for 2020
The world’s bike manufacturers are all gathered in Milan to show off their new 2020 bikes at the impressive EICMA Show. Let SBS Mag run you through the key new models all in one place…
It’s been a while since a manufacturer tried to create a buzz with a middleweight, but Aprilia are having a right old gowith the new RS660. They promise 98.6bhp from the 660cc parallel-twin motor, which is based on the front two cylinders from their RSV4 1100, firing in 270° intervals. It weighs just 169kg and has many crossing digits for something that lights up the biking world like Aprilia’s RS250 two-stroke did in the 1990s. The class continues with the rest of the package, RSV4-derived APRC electronics bestow the RS660 with traction, wheelie and cruise control, up/down quickshifter, engine braking controls and adjustable engine mapping. The shock is mounted to the back of the engine, a la RS250, and the fairings and LED lights have all the wizardry of the RSV4. No word on price yet, but this is an impressive bike that will test the apparent wisdom that only high-capacity bikes can justify a big-ticket price tag.
Aprilia Tuono 660 Concept
Reaction to the RS600 (above) was clearly strong enough for Aprilia to immediately bang in a semi-naked follow-up. The Tuono 660 Concept boasts a 93.7bhp version of the 660cc parallel-twin motor and will bring an upright riding position with half-fairing. There’s also a 34kW (45bhp) version under development for riders on A2 licences. Let’s assume it’ll make it from concept to production, as Aprilia have given much more detail than is usual for a concept bike.
AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior
Can life get any more aspirational than a union of Brough Superior and Aston Martin? The famous car marque and revived motorcycle brand, who make exquisite bikes from Toulouse in France, hooked up a year ago and the AMB 001 is tantalisingly described as “the first chapter” of their partnership. Brough have brought their 177.5bhp turbocharged engine and structural carbon-fibre body to the mix, while Aston’s design department have sculpted the lines to emulate their latest range of mid-engined cars. The track-only bike boasts twin-wishbone front forks and is already appealing to Aston Martin car enthusiasts. Whoever wants one of the 100 examples better have their wallets primed… the asking price is listed at 108,000 Euros, with bikes rolling out of Toulouse in late 2020.
Bore out BMW’s parallel-twin F850GS engine by 2mm to 86mm, machine the cylinder heads, swap cast pistons for forged affairs and you have the 895cc motor used in two new 2020 Beemers. First is the touring-orientated F900XR, a more practical junior sibling for the nutso S1000XR. BMW claim 101.8bhp (at 8500rpm) and 67.8lb-ft of torque at 6500rpm, so it should be all go in the midrange. There are two riding modes as standard (Rain and Road). A new steel subframe bolts to a steel bridge frame, and upside-down forks. BMW claim the 15.5-litre plastic-welded fuel tank, which sits in the conventional location in front of the rider, is a world-first in bike construction. The XR has front fairing with adjustable screen, while the naked R version runs on an identical platform except it has less suspension travel, a smaller 13-litre tank and runs without the front fairing and screen. There will be a 34kW (45bhp) version of both bikes.
Ducati Panigale V2
Bye bye Panigale 959, hello Panigale V2. Its 955cc V-twin engine makes a claimed 155bhp (up 5bhp on the Pani 959) and 76lb-ft of torque (up by 1.5lb-ft). As part of a thorough styling makeover the new ‘baby’ Panigale gets the single-sided swingarm synonymous with Ducati and a compact underslung exhaust. Special attention has gone on making the bike more comfortable, with a wider and better padded seat and revised steering geometry that make the V2 “more intuitive, agile and fun to ride” according to Ducati.
Ducati Streetfighter V4/S
You’ve got a spanking V4 superbike in the range so it’s blindingly obvious to take off the fairings and create a naked version. Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 has a smattering of bits to maintain decency however, with a ‘biplane wing’ and vents that boost stability and increase cooling of the crackers 202bhp motor. The wings generate 28kg of downforce (at 167mph), which Ducati say cuts the risk of the front wheel feeling as though it’s floating at high speed, as well as increasing stability during braking and cornering. An S version has forged Marchesini wheels, Öhlins suspension and steering damper with electronic controls. If 202bhp isn’t enough, the official accessory Akrapovic exhaust is your cure… upping it to 216bhp while hacking off 6kg. Crackers? You bet.
Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R/R SP
The biggest clue to a change in direction for Honda’s 28-year-old legend of biking is this statement from Honda’s Large Project Leader Mr Yuzuru Ishikawa: “The battleground has moved to the racetrack.” A new engine makes a claimed 211.4bhp at 14,500rpm and torque peaks at 83lb-ft at 12,500rpm. It breathes through an ‘out and proud’ exhaust developed in conjunction with Akrapovic that has ovalised downpipes and a titanium end-can. The shorter motor lets Honda get clever, mounting the Showa twin-tube shock to the rear of the engine to save weight. A new, longer aluminium swingarm comes from the RC213V and wraps around a wider wheel wearing a 200/55 ZR17 tyre. MotoGP-style winglets at the front and an extended lower fairing help aerodynamics and a keyless ignition gives air a free run from the ram-air duct to the airbox. There’s also a CBR1000RR-R SP model with Öhlins Smart Electronic Control suspension and Brembo Stylema brake calipers rather than the Nissin calipers and Showa suspension on the ‘base’ Blade.
Honda Rebel 500
Honda’s A2 licence-friendly cruiser receives an upgrade, making it smoother and more comfortable. The 500cc engine makes a claimed 32lb-ft of torque at 6000rpm, and reaches its peak power of 45bhp at 8500rpm, leaving it just under the legal limit of 47bhp for someone with an A2 licence. Elsewhere, the Rebel receives a new exhaust to bring it in line with Euro 5 regulations. It also takes on a new gear position indicator, a slipper clutch and LED indicators, meaning all of the Rebel’s lighting is now LED. Comfort comes from a thicker seat and revised suspension.
Husqvarna Norden 901 concept
Husky’s designers always go their own way, and the edgy looks of this Norden 901 Concept caught the eye at EICMA. Their vision of a travel enduro bike looks quite a way towards the production end of the scale rather than a sketch in a notebook. Power comes from a bored-out 899.5cc version of parent company KTM’s LC8c engine, likely to be a detuned version of KTM’s new 890 Duke R engine (see below). The motor sits in a tubular steel frame with 21in front and 18in wheels bouncing on adjustable long-travel suspension by KTM-owned WP. The round LED headlight is a Husky design signature and the riding position is tuned for comfort while either standing or sat on the mesh-covered saddle. Soft panniers sculpted to leave room for the rider’s legs suggest thought has already gone on details rather than just outlines. Will it make production for 2021? We hope so.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401
The smaller versions of Husqvarna’s distinctive-looking singles have new bolt-on subframes for 2020, with an extra 40mm on each to make life more comfortable for pillions.
Indian FTR Rally
Retro styling comes to Indian’s FTR 1200 in the new Rally model, which receives knobbly Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, aluminium wire wheels with red pinstripes, a brown aviator seat and ‘Titanium Smoke’ grey paint. The 1203cc V-twin engine makes 88 lb-ft of torque and produces 123bhp, with Vice President Reid Wilson claiming the FTR Rally is “perfect for city streets or back canyon roads”. The FTR Rally is equipped with cruise control and 50mm higher ProTaper handlebars for a more comfortable riding position and better handling.
Kawasaki Z H2
After the success of the supercharged H2 and H2-SX the next step for Kawasaki’s Z1000 was to whack a supercharger on it… and here it is. Now wrapped in a revised version of the trellis-type chassis from the H range machines, the charger takes the 998cc inline-four naked up to a claimed 194.3bhp. Mighty, but still shy of Ducati’s 202bhp claims for their new Streetfighter V4 naked’s 1103cc normally-aspirated motor. The Z H2 beats the V4 on torque (101lb-ft to 90.4lb-ft) and the supercharger means the Zed’s surge should be easier to access, with peak torque at 8500rpm and power maxxing out at 11,000rpm (against 11,500rpm and 12,750rpm). Gadgets like a two-way quickshifter, slipper clutch, traction control and wheelie control help keep the lunacy under some form of restraint, while practical bits like cornering ABS, cruise control and a TFT screen bring the practicality.
Kawasaki’s naked gets a tech upgrade and exhaust mods in line with impending Euro 5 emissions rules. The 121.8bhp inline-four has Kawasaki’s three-stage KTRC traction control and two power modes (Full or Low). Three standard rider modes (Sport, Road, Rain) and one user-defined option offer four combinations of traction and power settings. They’re all accessed through a new TFT screen that also offers practical info like a fuel gauge, trip meter and service schedule. As well as new LED head and tail lights, more room in the exhaust accommodates a cleaner catalytic converter to help meet those Euro 5 rules. There’s also a 70kW (92.5bhp) version that can be restricted to meet the A2 licence power cap.
The parallel twin aimed primarily at A2 riders is updated with a new TFT instrument screen, Bluetooth connectivity and a comfier seat for passengers. Shall we move on? Yes, let’s.
Not many details forthcoming on this one, but Kawasaki’s EICMA stand featured an electric bike under development in association with Bosch. Yuji Horiuchi, President of Kawasaki’s Motorcycle and Engine Company, said: “We have been researching electric vehicles for many years and our approach has been very Kawasaki. We have focused on riding sensation – flexible power, torque and gearshifting capability. The result is a machine giving good rider feeling. We are working alongside Bosch – the first Japanese manufacturer to do so.” Presented as a concept, it’ll be interesting to see where the Bosch EV goes from here.
KTM 1290 Superduke R
“The Beast just got beastier,” was KTM’s EICMA catchphrase for the upgraded headcase machine. Power was never a problem and there’s no claim of more, with 174.4bhp on tap from the 1301cc V-twin motor and 103.2lb-ft of torque. The engine is updated, though – lighter engine cases, titanium valves, 56mm throttle bodies with extra injectors, beefed-up ignition coils and a smoother gearbox. KTM say there’s been a weight reduction scheme including a new frame, swingarm, top yoke and forks, along with a new subframe. Intriguingly, though, overall weight remains a claimed 189kg. Perhaps extra exhaust gubbins to meet new Euro 5 emissions rules has eaten up all of the advantage.
KTM 890 Duke R
The Scalpel – KTM’s 790 Duke – was one of 2018’s most popular new arrivals, and now the Super Scalpel has arrived to cut a little deeper. Its bored and stroked LC8c engine runs 90.7mm x 68.8mm (the 790 is 88mm x 65.7mm) and delivers 117.6bhp at 9250rpm, with torque hitting a 73lb-ft peak at 7750rpm. That’s a 16bhp hike and an extra 9lb-ft over the 790. There are lighter Brembo Stylema brake calipers, higher footpegs, a steeper swingarm angle and WP Apex forks and shock, which all delivers a 3kg weight saving over the 790 Duke. That all makes this one of the most eagerly anticipated bikes of 2020.
KTM 390 Adventure
Merging the engine from KTM’s 390 Duke with styling cues from their Dakar race bikes and capable enduro components like 43mm WP forks brings a classy addition to the A2 licence category. The 42.3bhp and 72.2lb-ft single-cylinder motor is backed by traction control and offers 170mm of suspension travel at the front and 177mm at the rear, with a seat height of 855mm. The 14.5-litre tank should keep the baby adventure bike going for a decent range and the TFT display with smartphone connection is a nice touch for younger riders on A2 licences.
Suzuki V-Strom 1050/XT
The name changes from V-Strom 1000 to 1050, though the capacity hike actually took place with the 2014 revamp. The new engine makes more power – up 7% to 105bhp, which comes from reprofiling the cams to give increased lift duration and reduce the overlap where exhaust and inlet valves are open at the same time. There are three selectable traction control modes and the same number of engine power modes.
There’s a new radiator to increase cooling capacity and a slipper clutch, while the bike is now compliant to looming Euro 5 emissions rules. Styling takes its cues from Suzuki’s DR650 ‘DR Big’ rally racers and is a bold move as it’s angular in a world that’s largely filled with more sculpted lines.
The XT model benefits from the more interesting upgrades. As well as the engine changes, there’s a suite of electronics including cornering ABS, linked brakes that alter the distribution of power between front and rear depending on load and incline, as well as hillhold control. Spoked wheels, engine bars, sleeker mirrors, more discreet covers for the LED lights, a centrestand, handguards and lower cowling are all additional goodies only available on the XT, which should cost around £1500 more than the base model.
Triumph Thruxton RS
Torquier and higher-revving, the Thruxton RS engine is 7.9bhp more powerful than the Thruxton R motor. Up from 95.6bhp to 103.5bhp and with 83lb-ft of torque from the 1200cc parallel-twin motor, plus a 6kg weight loss programme makes the RS the new pinnacle for the Thruxton range. Chuck in a classy Arrow stainless twin-silencer exhaust as standard, and upgraded Brembo M50 radial brake calipers and the bike is an exercise in evocative loveliness. It’s all finished off in a blacked-out style, including black anodised wheels and engine covers and a black spring for the Öhlins shock.
Triumph Bud Ekins Bonneville T100 and T120
Triumph’s two special edition Bonnies celebrate Bud Ekins, legendary American desert racer and riding stunt double for Steve McQueen’s famous jump in The Great Escape. He passed away in 2007, and receives two fitting tributes on the firm’s T100 and T120 Bonnevilles. Both new models boast red and white paintschemes with a heritage Triumph emblem and Bud Ekins logos. They come with certificates of authenticity and are signed by Triumph CEO Nick Bloor and both of Ekins’ daughters.
Triumph Bobber TFC
Only 750 of these custom Bobbers will be produced worldwide, each with a numbered plaque on the top yoke. The Bobber TFC packs an extra 9.9bhp over existing Bobbers, and peak torque is up to 81 lb-ft at 4500rpm. An Arrow exhaust with titanium silencers and carbon-fibre end caps has been designed especially for this model, and a new ‘Sport’ riding mode gives riders three options.
A new engine is the highlight for Yamaha’s funky 125, with a variable valve timing set-up. The new motor has two intake cams and a solenoid switches between them to make sure the valve timing suits the engine speed. Below 7400rpm the low cam is in operation, then the high cam takes over at 7400rpm and dictates intake valve timing until the redline. It’s high-tech stuff for the 125cc class and should help balance out the power characteristics at low and high revs. The motor now makes its peak power at 10,000rpm – up 1000rpm on its predecessor. Yamaha also promises better fuel economy thanks to reduced internal friction and revised gearing.
It’s not all about the new engine, though. Revised LED headlights, clocks and bodywork sit on a new Deltabox frame that also offers an altered riding position designed to give the rider more freedom to move around, yet overall wheelbase is reduced and that should help with steering agility. Some of the extra room comes from a reduction in fuel tank capacity, so hopefully the promised economy improvements will compensate and maintain range at sensible levels. There’s also a wider 140-section rear tyre, which will allow a better choice of rubber.
The naked version of Yamaha’s 321cc A2-compliant single-cylinder machine gets a sprinkling of newness for 2020. New 37mm upside-down forks with gold outer tubes take over suspension duties at the front, with an uprated shock taking care of the back-end. Other changes are cosmetic, with new LED headlights and indicators and an LCD instrument display showing the data in white on a black background. It’s due in late December 2019.
Yamaha Tracer 700
The travel-focused version of Yam’s smash-hit MT-07 parallel-twin benefits from emissions-friendly engine changes as well as new suspension, styling, lights, screen, bars and seat. Revised fuelling and ignition settings, redesigned air intake and changes to the exhaust satisfy looming Euro 5 emissions rules without, Yamaha claim, affecting the character that has made the MT-07 engine so popular. New 41mm forks have preload and rebound adjusters and an altered spring rate, while the shock also has preload and rebound adjusters. A new screen has higher optical quality and offers 60mm of adjustment, with redesigned handguards mounted to handlebars that are 34mm wider than the outgoing model. The seat is now a one-piece affair that makes it easier for the rider to grip the tank with knees, and the pillion section sits higher to improve their riding position. The new Tracer 700 is due in March 2020.