2014 is shaping up to be a bumper year for new bikes. But, which 2014 new motorcycles are worth waiting for? Which ones are worth upgrading to? And, which ones should you pass on? This is RideApart’s primer to 2014’s new motorcycles.
What they say: “The new RT has a new air/water-cooled BMW boxer engine with even more torque and 125 bhp. Thanks to the traction control system ASC, the machine offers stability on every country road. The standard ride modes "Rain" and "Road" can also be activated at the press of a button, adapting the motorcycle perfectly to the weather conditions and road surface as required. The On Board Computer Pro and the familiar heated grips round off the range of basic equipment.”
What we say: The BMW R 1200 RT was already the best handling touring bike out there, so a little more power and refinement and a little less weight won’t hurt. The new looks are going to be a bit polarizing though.
Should you buy one? Want to do distance in comfort, at speed? Doesn’t get any better than this.
What they say: “The BMW R nineT is powered by an air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke flat twin engine. The instruments consisting of speedometer and tachometer harken back to historical times and emphasize the essential and minimalist visual appeal of the motorcycle. The BMW R nineT is equipped with an upside down fork at the front and with the BMW Motorrad Paralever at the rear. However, the nineT does not only stand out due to its pure design. The nineT offers great options for individualization. No customizing wish is left unfilled. For example there is the removable rear frame, enough space for 6 inch rims and many other options.”
What we say: The idea of offering a basic motorcycle is a good one, but we fear the nineT is skewing way too premium. It supposed to attract a new audience and educate them about BMW’s history. Instead, the same older, premium consumers are just getting a new toy. Ducati SportClassic 2.0.
Should you buy one? You really want an expensive BMW but don’t want the new GS with it’s liquid-cooled motor? Well then sir, step right this way, have we told you about our new custom parts catalog?
What they say: “A roadster, reduced to the essentials: maximum performance. 160 bhp, 83 lb.-ft. torque and a power-to-weight ratio of 2.85 pounds per bhp - and the competition disappears in the rear mirror.”
What we say: But the competition makes 180 bhp…
Should you buy one? If you want a powerful roadster and must have a BMW, then I guess this is your only option.
New Bikes From Ducati
What they say: “The performance and fluidity of the new Testastretta 11° DS engine, the versatility of the three Riding Modes, the comfort of the adjustable seat and passenger handles make the Ducati Monster 1200 a bike that is capable of adapting to any occasion, so that you can follow your instincts in every situation. The unmistakable Monster design is truly iconic and means there is no limit to your enjoyment.”
What we say: Here making 135 bhp (standard) or 145 bhp (S), the 1200 Testastretta motor is one of the flat-out best motorcycle engines out there, here housed in a versatile, minimalist package. Oh yeah, and the new Monster has a feature previous models lacked: comfort.
Should you buy it? Yes. But get the S version as it has better suspension and brakes.
What they say: Nothing. There are just these officially-“leaked” spy photos so far.
What we say: It’s debuting “early in 2014.” Most information out there is pure conjecture, but it appears to use the Monster 796 motor and might have retro styling.
Should you buy it? Save up for a Hypermotard SP instead.
What they say: “…the 899 Panigale is just the bike to give a Ducati Superbike adrenalin rush, both on the track and on the road.”
What we say: Performance figures aside, the 899 is just a sweeter ride than its more expensive sibling. It’s more agile thanks to a narrower rear tire, shorter wheelbase and steeper rake, while the engine is more flexible while still delivering an impressive 149 bhp.
Should you buy one? If you’ve been thinking about a Panigale, this is the best bike in the range.
New Bikes From Erik Buell Racing
What they say: "You won’t be disappointed upon setting eyes on our newest creation: The 2014 EBR 1190RX. It has been built from start-to-finish with pride, joy and a relentless passion to bring you another world-class sport bike from the heart of America."
What we say: A triumph of independent engineering, this tiny American company has pulled off the impossible.
Should you buy one? Do you have $18,995? If so, then yes. Support independent American companies.
New Bikes From Honda
What they say: “Take Honda’s legendary 1832cc flat six and build it into the ultimate cruiser—powerful, awe-inspiring and like no other. Now add in great handling and iconic style, and you’ll see why it’s the cruiser that only Honda could build.”
What we say: Look under the skin of a Gold Wing and you see something resembling a large superbike — aluminum beam frame, Pro-Link rear suspension, single-sided swingarm. And, the ‘Wing is a surprisingly solid performer, belying its massive curb weight. So, strip 154 lbs off, add some ground clearance and this should be one hell of a muscle cruiser, likely out-handling the entire class. Shame about the B-King headlight though.
Should you buy it? If you’re shopping for a muscle cruiser, this will be your best choice. One of the most evocative engines in motorcycling now free to show you what it’s got.
What they say: “The all-new CTX1300 expands the innovative concept first introduced with the CTX series—the idea of combining higher levels of comfort and technology to create a riding experience unique to Honda. These bikes place a premium on ease of use and a spacious rider environment with comfortable ergonomics. But now, by extending Honda’s longstanding and successful heritage of V-4 technology, the CTX1300 adds a full load of 1300-class muscle with exhilarating right-now thrust accompanied by a distinctive V-4 engine pulse and exhaust note.”
What we say: That 1,261cc V4 has always been a great motor, but it hasn’t yet had a good home. Hopefully, in the Honda CTX it finds that. Less of a cruiser than the looks suggest, the CTX has a nice, neutral riding position with your legs underneath you, that should equal good comfort and control.
Should you buy it? Want a good performing, characterful bike to do distance on? This will be a good one.
What they say: “For the ultimate in performance, the CBR1000RR SP features fully adjustable Öhlins front and rear suspension, plus Brembo front brakes and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC premium tires. A special lightweight subframe lowers the center of gravity (CG) and the CBR1000RR SP carries a single-seat cowl that shaves weight. Add high-performance engine parts, including pistons and connecting rods that are hand-picked to match weight and balance, and you have a finely honed instrument that brings the CBR1000RR SP’s performance to a whole new level.”
What we say: Honda has gone much further than they say they have, working with Ohlins and Brembo to engineer bespoke versions of their components specifically to suit the SP. They’ve also altered the swingarm pivot location and “blueprinted” the motor to increase its performance. It’s an OCD, perfectionist approach that should result in one very special motorcycle.
Should you buy it? Know how to ride a fast bike? If you do, the changes made to this SP are going to mean a lot more than things like horsepower and electronics.
What they say: “Its predecessor, the CBR250R provided the perfect entry point into Honda's Super Sport CBR range. Its compact size, involving single-cylinder engine, and looks inspired by bigger CBR machines - plus typically strong Honda build quality - have earned it a key position in Honda's Super Sport line-up. For 2014, Honda's engineers have taken it back to the drawing board; the CBR300R is the next evolution.”
What we say: An additional 4 bhp and 3 lb.-ft. of torque aren’t going to change the world, but they will make the CBR a little bit faster. On-sale date and pricing have not yet been announced for the U.S. If you want a new bike, this one won’t be here before late summer/early fall.
Should you buy it? The CBR250R is the best first bike out there. The 300 will be a little faster and a little more comfortable on the highway.
What they say: “…more power and torque, as well as twin balancer shafts, new exhaust muffler and taller gearing, optional DCT gearbox - plus a host of detail upgrades…”
What we say: That about sums it up. Take one utilitarian motorcycle and add 7 bhp and 6 lb.-ft of torque and you can’t go wrong.
Should you buy it? Like the CBR300R, U.S. availability hasn’t yet been announced. Updates are fairly minimal, so we wouldn’t bother waiting. Maybe use the arrival of the 750 to negotiate a deal on the NC700X.
New Bikes From Harley-Davidson
2014 Harley-Davidson Street 500/750
What they say: “America!”
Should you buy one? Nope.
New Bikes From Kawasaki
What they say: “…the new 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 has a hard-to-define “streetfighter” style that is impactful enough to ensure everyone knows they’re seeing something special. In a significant departure from the concealing bodywork of its sportbike predecessor, the new Z1000 strips-off unnecessary covers and bodywork to expose the superior functionality of its parts.”
What we say: Looking at the specs, this is going to be to be a very fun, powerful naked bike that may not be quite as outright capable as you’d expect.
Should you buy one? Looking for power that is not as hard on your wallet? Then this is the bike for you.
What they say: “Riders who want real world, open class performance need to look no further than the upgraded 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS sportbike. With an unmistakably aggressive profile that could only come from the Ninja family tree, this premium quality sportbike has the perfect combination of power, handling, looks, technology and rideability.”
What we say: Is a sport tourer by any other name any less versatile?
Should you buy one? Want a fast bike that will work in the city as well as it does on the highway or on back roads? This is it.
What they say: “The new KTM 1290 Super Duke R perfectly embodies the KTM philosophy: endless power, highest precision, perfect ergonomics, finest ingredients, not a gram too many, simply "Ready to Race!”
What we say: The most powerful naked bike ever. With 180 bhp from a 1,301cc v-twin and a reportedly excellent package of rider-aid electronics, this things going to be crazy. But what’s the point? A superbike is going to be faster everywhere, but this thing is going to be just as expensive to run.
Should you buy one? Power doesn’t necessarily equal more fun. There’s more complete packages out there that are more widely available, cost less money and wont’ eat rear tires in less than 1,000 miles.
2014 KTM 390 Duke
What they say: “It combines maximum riding pleasure with optimum user value and is superior everywhere where really nimble handling counts. Light as a feather, powerful and packed with state-of-the-art technology, it guarantees undreamed of dynamic fun, whether you're in the urban jungle or a forest of bends.”
What we say: The most desirable first bike ever made? This thing has “winner” written all over it.
Should you buy one? Yes.
What they say: “A sports bike in its purest form. Reduced to the essentials.”
What we say: Finally, a high-spec, but small-capacity sportbike.
Should you buy one? Sell a kidney if you have to.
New Bikes From Mission Motorcycles
What they say: “The world’s most advanced electric motorcycle.”
What we say: And they are the fastest too. This thing kicks butt.
Should you buy one: They’re $30k+ and a single charge is only going to get you as far as the tank range of a gas-powered superbike. But, if you want the absolute best performance bike available right now, then this is it.
What they say: “With the Turismo Veloce (literally Fast Tourer), MV Agusta has reinterpreted the tourer concept in the name of exclusivity, agility, ease of riding and performance. Unlike all of the heavier and oversized models offered by the competition, MV Agusta has chosen to utilize a compact and powerful 800cc engine.”
What we say: Half ADV bike, half F3 800. Sounds like an odd combination, but it should work out beautifully. 17-inch wheels, dynamic suspension and a peach of a three-cylinder motor with a counter-rotating crankshaft. Swoon.
Should you buy one? Sadly, no. MV has a poor track record of delivering models to the U.S. on time, with parts availability and with outright reliability.
What they say: “The revolutionary in-line three-cylinder engine is the heart of this model, one that becomes the most versatile roadster, member of an ever wider MV Agusta range thanks to its ergonomics that have been specifically developed to ensure comfort and full control under every condition.”
What we say: MV’s take on the Hypermotard. The bold design is more eye catching than it is beautiful, but man is that a great motor.
Should you buy one? See above. Sorry to break your heart.
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000
What they say: “The all-new 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS was redesigned from the ground up. It has many improvements over the previous V-Strom 1000 and the list is enormous. One of the newest changes or additions is Suzuki's first Traction Control System on a motorcycle which the V-Strom proudly carries. Other features that were improved or redesigned are the engine, fuel injectors, magento, idle speed control, radiator, clutch, transmission, exhaust, suspension, and much more!”
What we say: Ditching the off-road pretense has enabled Suzuki to bring a lighter, cheaper ADV bike to market that should be even better in the environment where all ADV bikes are used: the road.
Should you buy it? Looking for a fast, fun, practical motorcycle that will do anything you ask of it? Yep, the V-Strom 1000 is it.
2014 Zero SR
What They Say: “More Power. Higher Top Speed. Greater Acceleration.”
What We Say: Close, but still no cigar. 67 bhp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque sound impressive, but low quality components still continue to mar what would otherwise be a viable package. With the range-extending “Power Tank” the SR costs close to $20k, but still wears bias-ply tires…
Should you buy one? If you really want an electric motorcycle, the SR is the easiest bike to buy that also has real performance.