Team Green surprised us last year, announcing the Kawasaki Ninja 400 sport bike as a successor for the still fresh Ninja 300. For bonus points, Kawasaki brought the Ninja 400 to the US market, where it has displaced its smaller rivals (do you see what we did there??).
Now it seems that Kawasaki is ready to bring another 400cc sport bike to market, as a filing with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) tip-off the upcoming Kawasaki Ninja ER400DK.
In Kawasaki-speak, the “ER” designation has been used for many of the company’s naked motorcycles over the years, so putting two and two together, logic would dictate that a naked version of the Ninja 400 is on its way for the 2019 model year.
It is not a matter of if, but when Ducati makes a streetfighter version of the new Panigale V4 – this much my sources in Bologna have assured me. This news makes sense for the Italian brand, as the sport-naked segment is heating up, and there are plenty of offerings from other brands that make the Ducati Monster 1200 R look like a toy in comparison. In fact, just about every major brand has a bike in this space, except for Ducati. We are not hopeful that a Streetfighter V4 will debut at the INTERMOT & EICMA trade shows later this year, but we do see such a model as being a reality for around the 2020 model year. Helping us visualize such a machine, this render from Kardesign does an excellent job of taking the lines from the original Ducati Streetfighter 1098, and applying them to the V4 rolling chassis.
It has to be the weirdest motorcycle yet, if you can even call it that (some don’t), but it is also luridly intriguing. we are of course talking about the Yamaha NIKEN (read the ride review here, by the way). A mullet of machines, the NIKEN is business in the front, and party in the back, with its dual 15-inch front wheels mated to a grand total of four conventional fork tubes, via an elaborate parallelogram linkage, while the 17-inch rear wheel spins from a more conventional swingarm design. This is because from behind the headstock, things get a bit more familiar, with a chassis that is built mostly from steel tube, and a swingarm that comes from cast aluminum. The motor is a revised version of the three-cylidner engine that is found in the Yamaha MT-09.
Color us intrigued by ARCH Motorcycle’s third installment to its lineup, the very exclusive ARCH Method143.
Powered by an air-cooled 143ci (2,343cc) v-twin engine, the Method143 varies from ARCH’s usual fare of power cruisers, as it is more of an upright roadster in format.
Of course, it has only the best components, including Öhlins suspension (FGRT series front forks and TTX rear shock) and carbon fiber BST wheels. Also, the chassis is made from a carbon fiber MonoCell frame, with other parts made from CNC’d aluminum.
Only 23 units will be made of the ARCH Method143, and as you can see from these detail photos, those will be a lucky 23 individuals.
The Yamaha FZ-09…pardon us…the Yamaha MT-09 is a top-seller for the Japanese brand, mixing a solid motorcycle, with decent features, all for a reasonable price.
Hoping to appeal to riders more “up-market” though, Yamaha has a conundrum, and the hope is that the Yamaha MT-09 SP is the solution.
Taking its potent three-cylinder street bike, Yamaha has taken the MT-09 and added an Öhlins rear shock and fully adjustable front forks to the package – which are not from Öhlins, I might add.
If this sounds familiar, it should. The Yamaha MT-09 SP follows in the same vein as the Yamaha MT-10 SP.
ARCH Motorcycle is in Italy right now, and they just took the wraps off three bikes, one of which isn’t so much a cruiser, as it is a naked roadster model. Built using carbon fiber MonoCell chassis technology, a building technique usually reserved for ultra high-end sport cars and Formula 1 racing chassis, the ARCH Method143 features a potent 143ci (2,343) v-twin engine. Though, instead of the performance cruiser layout the company is better known for, the ARCH Method143 will have mid-body rearsets for the feet, and clip-on handlebars for the hands, making for a very sporty riding position. Backing up that notion is the use of Öhlins suspension, which includes a proprietary Öhlins FGRT series front fork with carbon fiber airfoil covers.
If you think that the 2018 Honda CB1000R is a fetching motorcycle, then we’ve got some more good news for you, because Honda Motor Europe has debuted at EICMA two more bikes with its “Neo Sports Café” aesthetic: the Honda CB125R and the Honda CB300R.
As you can discern from the names, the Honda CB125R and Honda CB300R are street bikes that shares a lineage with the Honda CB1000R, albeit in 125cc and 300cc packages, respectively.
As such, the 2018 Honda CB125R is basically a redesigned CBR125R (a model not available in the US market), while the 2018 Honda CB300R is a repurposed to create the Honda CBR300R.
When we first saw Honda’s Neo Sports Café concept, it was a bittersweet moment. We loved the design. It was bold, but understated. It was a clean and modern take on a motorcycle that each year fades further and further from our attention.
The design was so good, we were sure that the Honda Neo Sports Café concept would never see the light of day, and surely not as the new Honda CB1000R.
It is good to be wrong sometimes, because say hello to the very attractive 2018 Honda CB1000R, which brings the Honda Neo Sports Café concept to life, with very few changes.
If it feels like Honda is zigging while others zag, then you would be correct. While the streetfighter segment continues to be filled with uber-aggressive performance machines, Honda is looking to take a more sophisticated approach with the new Honda CBR1000R, which plays to the bike’s strengths.
While on the exterior, there might seem to be a great deal of similarities between the Ducati Panigale V4 and its predecessor the Ducati 1299 Panigale, stripping away the bodywork shows that the relation is mostly skin deep.
Yes, the “frameless” chassis design remains, and yes the exhaust routing for the four-cylinder machine mimics that on the twin-cylinder bike, but there are noticeable, even critical differences between Ducati’s superbikes, which should translate to meaningful differences on the race track.
The most obvious is how raked back the Desmosedici Stradale engine sits within the Panigale V4 chassis, which measures at 42° from parallel – the same as the Italian company’s V4-powered MotoGP race bike. No coincidence there.
This allows for the “front frame” to become a much longer lever, and attach to the motorcycle in more conventional mounting points. Both of these factors can contribute to making the Panigale V4 handle better on the race track, and provide better rider feedback – a common complaint of the old design.
Motus Motorcycles looks to be working on its second motorcycle model, as a naked prototype of the Motus MST has been making appearances on the American brand’s social media channels, including a very tasty video of the bike testing a 4-2-1 Akrapovic exhaust on the dyno (watch it, after the jump).
We reached out to Motus about its latest project, and the company confirmed its interest in making a naked version of the Motus MST sport-tourer, though it is waiting to see the feedback from other Motus owners and potential customers before committing to make the machine.
Still, Motus is teasing some very intriguing performance specs and design elements, which is more than whetting our appetite.
If we had to guess at a unifying theme for this year’s new bike launches, it would have to be “what is old is new again” as several brands are working on modern-engineered retro-styled motorcycles for the Tokyo and Milan expos.
Big Red is throwing its hat into the ring for this game as well, teasing what it calls the “Neo-Sport Café” on its YouTube channel. The videos center around Honda’s design and engineering team working on a new motorcycle, which will debut next month at the EICMA show in Milan.
In the teaser videos, we see a retro-looking motorcycle, with modern flares, such as an LED headlight, single-sided swingarm, and bazooka shaped exhaust can.
And then of course, there is the name” Neo-Sport Café and Honda’s description that it is true to “the spirt of the café racer.