Best Motorcycles of 2013 EICMA

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2013 EICMA

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Style and substance are two qualities that rarely come together. But surely, that’s the whole point of having a motorcycle show in Milan, right? Here are the bikes that manage to do both and more. These are the five best motorcycles of 2013 EICMA. 

Five:

2014 Kawasaki Z1000
2014 Kawasaki Z1000

Bike Name: 2014 Kawasaki Z1000
Why We Are Excited About It: The Z1000′s always been a looker, but this thing takes that to a whole new level with a pretty daring design from a traditionally conservative Japanese bike manufacturer. Plus, it has more power and electronic rider aids too.
What Additional Info We Hope To Learn: We’re looking forward to seeing it in person, out on the street. Should turn a few heads!
Why You Should Be Excited About It: A lot of power and practicality in a very affordable package. Buy one of these, not a Diavel.

Four:

2014 Honda CTX1300
2014 Honda CTX1300

Bike Name: 2014 Honda CTX1300
Why We Are Excited About It: The Pan European’s 1,261cc V4 has always been a great engine, it just hasn’t yet had a great home. We’re hoping this bike fixes that. And, just look at those headers.
What Additional Info We Hope To Learn: Honda swears to us that this thing handles. Judging by the general epic-ness of its F6B big brother, we’re cautiously optimistic.
Why You Should Be Excited About It: The cruiser world is finally evolving beyond bad tattoos and awful, ill-handling bikes.

Three:

2014 Honda VFR800
2014 Honda VFR800

Bike Name: 2014 Honda VFR800F
Why We Are Excited About It: How can we put this nicely? The VFR1200 is a dud. It’s much heavier than the old 800 and not a pinch faster. It also costs a ton more. So, take the old VFR800, lighten it up, give it new styling and, voila, a practical, affordable, sport tourer.
What Additional Info We Hope To Learn: We’re really hoping the VFR800 comes to the U.S.
Why You Should Be Excited About It: You like bikes that are both fun to ride and all-day comfortable that don’t cost more than a mid-size car, right?

Read More, Page Two >>

  • MrDefo

    Is it just me or does the Z1000 look like a bug/dog hybrid that’s holding a bit (like on a horse) in its teeth? That would be the turn signals. I just can’t un-see it now. I’m not sure if that makes me love it or think it’s ugly.
    I really hope the VFR800 makes it state-side.

  • John Tiedjens

    I’m glad you guys “got” what Honda was after with the CTX. I’ve seen so much negative commentary on this bike and I’ve been rabidly defending it’s useful and exciting hybrid between a sport tourer and a cruiser but it seems I’m a minority. As for your line about why we should be excited?…I couldn’t have said it better myself… I did actually LOL at my desk!

  • Gabe

    You had me at “Miata of Motorcycles”

    • darngooddesign

      …for hairdressers everywhere. :D

      • DucMan

        Have you driven a Miata? The Miata is the greatest pure sports car ever made. Seriously.

        • Send Margaritas

          That is very much the truth. You can throw a Miata into a corner and seemingly no matter how over-speed, ill-prepared, ill-timed or ill-conceived…things turn out just fine. They’re just about a ton, with a decent suspension, slick manual trans, very good weight distribution, and an incredibly responsive steering setup.They are a very underrated car. A joy to drive.

      • Reid

        lololol /thread

  • Ulysses Araujo

    first link to page 2 is broken (“bikes” instead of “motorcycles”)

  • Gonfern

    Z1000 only care if it handles. Had one for 2 weeks and sold it. Comfortable, could pull stumps with it, handles turns like a wet noodle. KTM is a different story. That’s the best looking bike I’ve seen in years. Make a 690 and I’ll drop a deposit today.

    • Ben W

      The Z1000 needs work to handle. Most agree you need a 195 profile rear, like competing bikes do, instead of the 190. The suspension needs work, too, though that should be a given for the low overall cost. It’s interesting to see it on this list after the resoundingly negative review that it received – though I guess “get this instead of a Diavel” does summarize that review politely.

      • Bruce Steever

        you mean 190/55

        • Ben W

          Ugh, yes. I will edit and we can pretend this correction never happened.

  • Dustin

    RC390 for the win. Game changer.

  • Dave Day

    Wes,
    What are your thoughts on the awesomeness of an RC690?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’d cost more than an R6 and no one would buy it.

      • Justin McClintock

        I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. Look at the Duke. They actually brought the price of it DOWN not that long ago.

        • Dave Day

          I get your point Wes, but I’m not convinced that there is no market for such a bike. Some people don’t want or need the power the R6 offers and may prefer the styling of an RC690. This could be a new, nicer, albeit more expensive SV650 replacement. It would be easier to ride than the R6, nicer on tires, consume less gas, etc.

          • Stuki

            With all that weight on hands cushioned by nothing more than a few milometers of kangaroo skin from a hard handlebar, a big single isn’t exactly what I would consider a choice engine.

            I almost want to go out and buy the Duke690, but on a hardcore sportbike, I’d suffer through the indignities of those extra 40-50 horses up in the stratosphere, just to get the smoothness and tractability of a triple or four.

            • Dave Day

              I’ve never ridden a single cylinder bike so I can’t speak to this. It’s an excellent point though. I just wish there was a nice package that “out of the box” would be similar to a very well sorted SV650.

      • Dave Day

        Some German company made a conversion kit. It got a lot of love on a couple forums.
        http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/bikes/ktm-rc4-690r-mototech/
        Maybe there is a market for this.

  • David Holm

    I’m usually a big fan of odd-looking motorcycles, but the Z1000 is just too much. That front “headlight” kills it for me.

    The VFR is exactly the VFR that Honda should have built 5 years ago.

    • Twin Verb

      I sold an 01 VFR a couple years ago and have been full of remorse ever since. But the possibility of getting one of these in the stable warms my heart. I’d miss the gear driven cams with that John Deer tractor sound of the 01 but the new VFR is pretty damn inspiring.

      • Ceol Mor

        As long as this VFR doesn’t sport the gawd awful VTEC engine that 6th generations were saddled with — it’ll be a winner.

        • NOCHnoch

          Too bad, mate…it’s got VTEC. Pick up a 5gen and smile for miles

        • Sentinel

          They’ve re-worked the V-TEC, and it’s supposed to be smoother now. Let’s wait and see for sure before trashing it.

        • Ulysses Araujo

          Reviews of the Crossrunner (which uses the same engine/platform and a improved V-TEC) said the V-TEC kick-in was much more linear.

    • Kevin

      What it’s missing is integrated hard bags and an adjustable windshield. The Ninja 1000 has them, so should this bike. Let’s face it, middleweight touring is really what this bike could excel at and you can tell Honda is pushing in that direction (heated grips, trip computer, ABS & traction control) but they stopped too short. Honda’s just weird that way.

  • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

    It’s hard to be excited about two ugly motorcycles and one that may or may not make it to the States.

    That said, the RC390 should usher in a new genre of motorcycles that I am very excited about.

    • Justin McClintock

      Two ugly motorcycles and TWO that may or may not make it to the states. Neither the VFR or the RC390 are slated for the US as of right now.

  • devillock

    Would take new Super Duke over the Z1000 or Monster.

    • Moto Tommy

      Most Definitely!

    • Ben W

      They’re all great bikes that meet different needs. The new SD will be a premium priced powerhouse. The Z will be a bargain that will shine with some investment. The Monster will cater to the folks who are tired of Transformers but still want performance.

      • devillock

        Absolutely. That being said, I’d still sacrifice any bike on this list for the SD, except maybe the RC390, coz I’m like that ;)

    • Send Margaritas

      I’m not a sport bike guy, but I find the new Super Duke very interesting. I pretty much expected it on the list.

  • Moto Tommy

    That Ducati looks so industrial compared to the air cooled monsters. At least the Streetfighter had the tubular frame to give it an organic look comparatively, and you could always buy a new handlebar for not too much money to make it more comfortable. As far as the KTM goes, typically Americans shy away from single cylinder machines and I don’t think it will sell. I think the Miata of motorcycles is the Ninja 250/300, which has always brought new riders into the fold while still being very reliable.

    • Justin McClintock

      Good point about the little Ninjette being the “Miata of motorcycles”. The RC390 is more like the Lotus Elise of motorcycles.

  • http://thecrumb.com/ thecrumb

    Maybe I’m getting old but I look at all of these and the only thing I can wonder is how long / how much it would cost to adjust the valves. The VFR *does* look pretty through :)

    • Harve Mil

      Ducati:, “We have spread out services to intervals of 24,000 km (15,000 miles) and on some models the main Desmo Service is not necessary until 30,000 km (18,000 miles).”

      http://www.ducati.com/services/maintenance/index.do

      Quite reasonable if you ask me.

      • Bruce Steever

        Until you have to pay for that 18,000 mile service.

        The Vtec VFR isn’t any better, BTW.

        • Harve Mil

          $1300 or so. No biggie.

          • Bruce Steever

            I hope that’s sarcasm. But i really can’t tell…

          • Justin McClintock

            I adjusted the valves on my SV1000 in my garage. By myself. It cost me $12. Note the lack of 0′s behind that number.

            • Harve Mil

              I have no interest in a SV1000 at any price. No garage, no interest in wrenching. Seems like a value to me for something I love that happens every couple of years, particularly when it was that much every year in the past.

              • Justin McClintock

                Probably a good thing since they don’t build them anymore. Point is, there’s no reason the Duc should have to cost so much for a valve adjustment. It just…does.

                • Harve Mil

                  The entire bike has to be disassembled to get at the valves. Takes time, that.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Which means it’s a poor design.

                • Harve Mil

                  It’s much like dating a supermodel. There are expenses and plenty of drawbacks but at the end of the day, I go to sleep happy and so do the guys in the service dept. No victims here. A life without some luxuries isn’t worth living.

                • Justin McClintock

                  True. Some prefer their luxuries on their motorcycle. Some prefer to save money there and have their luxuries elsewhere. To each his (or her) own.

          • Scott Otte

            My god where are you getting your Ducati Serviced? Or are you just guessing.

  • the antagonist

    I agree with everything except the Z1000. “The Z1000′s always been a looker”? No. The first Z1000 was a looker (see below). Everything since then has been affected, contrived, and too Suzuki-B-King/Michael-Bay’s-Transformers-like. The new one is an improvement from the last gen, and likely a much better performer, but it still doesn’t match the simple, raw beauty of the original Z1000 roadster.

    • Ken

      The Antagonist speaks the truth. Every time Kawasaki gives the Z designers some more crystal meth I breathe a sigh of relief that I’ve kept my old one. It’s matt black now with a carbon pipe and tail tidy on it, but you’d never know it was a decade old. Until you looked at the condition of the crappy fasteners of course.

    • Ayabe

      Damn, that’s hot.

    • Justin McClintock

      I would vote that up many more times if I could. Truer words have never been spoken of the big Z.

    • Flying Couch

      I met a guy once who had a blue one of these with a plain round headlight on it. It was always mean, but the simple headlight just took it to a new level of classy.

      • Reid

        An older gentlemen who worked out at the gym I went to in high school had a bike just like the one you’re describing. It was a thing of beauty. I wish every manufacturer made just such a thing nowadays.

      • the antagonist

        I was always partial to the Buell headlight mod:

        • Reid

          Every streetfighter-type bike should look similar to that one.

    • Reid

      That original Z1000 did it all just right. It looks menacing and tough but in an understated sort of way (orange paint notwithstanding). Even the previous generation looked pretty awesome. I cannot support the styling direction taken by this new one though.

      • the antagonist

        Yeah, I’m partial to the black Zeds, but I think the Orange looked better in stock trim.

        The black though, with a few mods, could look lithe, powerful, and totally menacing:

    • Shawn McDermott

      Thats ones ugly turd there…looks like it was made from Orange Fanta.

  • the antagonist

    Speaking of “Miata of motorcycles”, the original, and best looking (by far), Z1000 was penned by Mazda Miata designer Shunji Tanaka.

  • Kirby

    Love the actually very freshened VFR800! Honda played their smart card and this bike probably cost them very little to reintroduce. The Monster 1200 looks more muscular and fresh with just a few Diavel cues. So glad to see the Monster lost it’s forward canted “crushing the jewels” seat slope and the bike looks to be around another 20 years. My favorite so far, just might be the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce. Perfect balance of the more than capable 800 triple, light weight and ability to cross several state lines in a days time. I just hope that ADV styling doesn’t mean an ADV seat height. I would prefer the nosebleed section to be a mountain pass, not my seating position!

    • pdad13

      It does mean a higher seat height, unfortunately. 34+ inches from what I read. This ADV fad seriously tarnished that bike in my opinion. It absolutely doesn’t need to be that tall. It’s a road bike, not a dual sport. It should have been a lighter, more exciting VFR800. Making it another tall-rounder doesn’t make it better as a sport-tourer in any way unless you’re pretty damn tall yourself. Maybe you can pick up a little cornering clearance with lower pegs, but that’s about it.

      With all the features on that bike, they could have kept it lower, sportier and given it adjustable ergos (seat, pegs and bars).

      • Kirby

        34+, pdad13??? Just what I was not hoping for. I like many of the ADV bikes, but being vertically challenged, I can never own one. I agree with you 100% about this bike not needing the ADV spin applied to it. It held so much promise (except a large dealer network) as an actual sporty mile eater with it’s light weight and real world performance. Having hit the 50 age threshold, I am not sure my 600+ mileage days are going to last, especially since I have done them on my ’09 CBR600RR. I guess I will have to wait on the ’14 VFR, if it comes stateside that is.
        Thank you for the info!

        • pdad13

          Yeah, I think I read 34.4 inches. It kinda ruined it for me. I’m tall enough to ride it, but I don’t know why I would buy one. I personally don’t want to be sitting straight up all day at highway speeds. Too bad because I was pretty excited about this bike. I have a couple of MV dealers nearby, one within 20 minutes of my house. I was even willing to hope MV would have its issues mostly sorted by the time I was ready to buy.

          I’ve done a lot of miles on my Daytona 675 and absolutely love triples, and have been hoping someone would bring a relatively lightweight, sporty sport-tourer something like the VFR800. I won’t give up the Daytona but it would be nice to have a longer-distance bike, too. Triumph doesn’t seem interested, so the MV looked like the ticket. Close but no cigar.

          I would give the new CBR650F a serious look and throw some upgrades at it (brakes, suspension), but that won’t be availale here, either, at least not now.

          I’m not in love with the new VFR800 even if it does make it here.

  • Ken

    Thank you Jesus or Honda or whoever, the return of a proper VFR at last. The 750 was a milestone – probably the most competent, sensible, do-anything motorcycle ever made.

  • darngooddesign

    Is the tank size useful or still too small for a tourer?

    • Bruce Steever

      4.5 gallons is better, but it still sucks down fuel pretty quickly (35 mpg or so)

      • CruisingTroll

        For the CTX1300, it is unlikely that the mileage will be that bad. Mileage on the ST1300 averages between 40 and 45mpg, and ST riders tend to be a little more rambunctious than your average cruiser rider. With the retuning they might do, improved FI, etc, etc, I’d guess mileage will be about 45mpg for the average solo rider. Which will give a range of about 175 miles… 150 to blinky gaspump icon.

        IIRC, the old VFR800 was right in that area as well, 40-45. I doubt that mileage would go seriously backward.

  • ryd

    I can’t afford the beautiful monster and we probably won’t get the 390 soon. I’m crushed!

  • Rameses the 2nd

    I didn’t like Z1000 initially; then BMW released S1000R and all of the sudden Z1000 became so much better.

    • kentaro

      The S1000R does make the Z1000 look better doesn’t it? May the derpy bikes receive the last laugh.

  • Charlie

    I would put the R1200 RT and MV Turismo Veloce on this list. BMW seems to have upped the ante with the new RT (similar to the GS) while the MV brings style and a smaller package to the sport touring category. Honestly, I’ve always thought the Kawa and B-king were competing for the ugliest duckling award. The B King is so bad it’s a classic. The new Kawa is an improvement, but daring can look a lot better.

    • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_SgRlM0sDWJI/R4Zrki-3osI/AAAAAAAAAW8/WOaLxbOOLws/s400/zoolander.jpg Sean MacDonald

      The last RT handled its weight so poorly that we’re going to need to ride this one before getting too excited about it.

  • tarun

    I am not sure I would buy a VFR over a Hyperstrada right now unless the price difference was fairly massive

  • Ben W

    The new Monster has different ergos than prior models, including an adjustable seat and two optional shorter seats.

  • Bruce Steever

    That 800 is neither slim nor lean, as it outweighs the current 1000 by 9 kg.

    • orthorim

      To add to that the 800 looks worse than the 1000 in person. Not sure why, all those cool parts don’t really converge into one nice whole. They should be ashamed it’s heavier than the Z1000, too.

  • JT

    The Ducati Monster is just fascinating to look at. It has this industrial visual sense that keeps me examining it whereas most motorcycles require maybe 2 two glances and you get the idea of the design. This is a stunning piece of work.

  • pdad13

    The Z1000 looks like it was designed by a comic book nerd in his mom’s basement. He’s also the same guy who made his own Iron Man motorcycle helmet and did a YouTube review of the Dark Knight riding suit. He probably came up with this thing after his female robot rejected him. I expect it to be a good bike, though. Okay, okay, I’ll wait until I see it up close before passing final judgment.

    Love that Honda updated the VFR800. I think it could have been better looking, though. Should have lost the VTEC, too.

    I also like that Honda decided to try its own take on cruisers with the CTX line. I also like the idea of the ST1300 engine and (hopefully) good handling. Do I like the bike? Not sure yet.

  • Khali

    NO. The miata of motorcycles is the SV650. Blasphemy! ;)

    • Justin McClintock

      No, it’s the Ninjette. This coming from a former SV650 owner.

      • Khali

        I cannot but disagree!

  • clasqm

    “Buy one of these, not a Diavel”.

    For the price of a Diavel, you will probably be able to buy this insectoid monstrosity and have enough left over to buy another 650-800cc bike so that you can hide this thing in the back of the garage and never need to look at it.

    Or you can just buy a Diavel.

    • Ben W

      Yep. Or buy the insectoid monstrosity and have enough left over to radically redesign the aesthetics and boost the performance, leaving you with something truly unique and exceedingly capable in comparison.

    • appliance5000

      It’s hard to defend the Diavel on aesthetic grounds. There are a lot of ugly mediocre motorcycles that are a lot cheaper.

  • Brian

    The KTM 390 for me is a clear winner because I have always loved the 400cc spot when it comes to 2 wheeled goodness. The late 80′s and early 90′s produced some great little 400cc machines that now have extreme level cult followings. In the US, the 88-90 FZR400, the CB1, the Bandit 400, are just a few. Outside the US there was exponentially more even cooler 400′s, like the VFR400R NC30 among many others. 400cc’s is more than a 250 on multiple levels, but not quite the menacing amount that a 600 can end up being. Most 500′s end up seeming almost gutless because they end up getting heavier to 600cc level while maintaining subpar power. Somehow the 400 class had more power and balance in weight than a 250, and provided in a machine that you could ride and not necessarily grow out of in a season or a year. Usable and tractable power in a class that doesn’t outweigh itself and keeps manageable performance for multiple levels of rider.

  • John

    Meh. The Kawasaki belongs no where near this list. Aside from being ugly, you guys are always complaining about how lame its predecessor was. What DOES belong there is the MT-07, which should be way up on the list.

  • Justin McClintock

    #5 – Hideous

    #4 – Weird/awkward styling. Longs to be a DN-01

    #3 – Not available in the US

    #2 – Okay, I’ll bite, it’s cool

    #1 – See #3

    Come one guys….best bikes are mostly either horrible looking things that need not exist or stuff that definitely NEEDS to be in the US but isn’t. Best bikes should be stuff we WANT to and WILL BE ABLE to buy. 4 of the 5 are neither. You need a mulligan on this one.

    • John

      I like the CTX. I’d never own one, but I think it’s pretty excellent looking. It does give me hope that we’re one step away from a VF1300S roadster, which would be dead sexy.

  • Justin McClintock

    The ST1300 is a better home for that engine than this cruiser….thing.

  • Splunken Gobblesmack

    What are you smoking? 5,4 and 3 are probably the ugliest bikes ever made?

  • Mark Trimmer

    I have owned an 86 VFR700, a 1991 VFR750, a 1996 VFR750, and a 2010 VFR800. My favor it was the 1991 and the new VFR looks similar with the red with gold accents. It stirs my emotions! I want the new 2014 VFR! PLEASE HONDA, BRING IT TO THE USA!!! Please price it to sell, not s too high, or it will sell two years layer at a huge discount.

  • torkoid

    Does the z1000 come with a cape ? This bike will be Kawasaki’s #1 seller…when they lower the driving age to 12.

  • Mark Trimmer

    I have owned 1986, 1991, 1998 and 2010 VFRs. My favorite was the 1991. The VTEC on the 2010 was awful and broke the rear wheel loose in corners repeatedly on a track day. The linked brakes/ABS was also awful. This new VFR looks similar to my 1991…BEAUTIFUL!!
    Ideally, I wish it had the gear driven cams and no linked/ABS, but I would still buy it, regardless, just for the looks alone!
    Please, Honda…

  • Scott Otte

    Completely different ergos between old and new models, and Monsters are often heavily modified by their owners, so what you saw is not likely to be stock. I ride one and only lay on the tank to get out of heavy head winds.

  • John
  • John
  • Harve Mil

    It’s always “Compared to what?” It’ll seem much more comfortable after riding an 848. What monster did you ride? They are all different but would only require laying on the tank if you’re under 5′. The 696 is quite comfortable and people with 30″ inseams seem to manage it just fine.

  • metric_G

    “high quality and what should be a low price tag”

    Even if it is coming to the US, I bet it will be pricey, just look at the KTM dirtbikes, what once was an affordable sport/hobby is now the realm of the 9-10k dirtbikes, etc.

    The CBR300R should be on this list (hopefully which will lead to a CRF300L in the future).

  • Guest

    This Harley is at the 2013 EICMA show.
    Anyone know what model it is?

    I think it looks good and the layout looks like it would be comfortable to ride.

    • Guest

      Only attached the photo once, but it double-posted it. :-(

  • appliance5000

    “For living memory, American motorcyclists have had to choose between bikes they can’t handle (liter bikes and 600s) or crummy little learner bikes that look terrible and perform worse. ”

    True if your memory stopped between the introduction of ninja 250s and the honda 500s.