Sometimes, you need to put something into the universe to see it happen, and it was just two days ago that we were speculating on rumors about Harley-Davidson’s plans for a small-displacement machine, likely headed for the Asian markets.
Today, we get confirmation of that news hearing that the Bar & Shield brand will collaborate with the Qianjiang Motorcycle Company to build small-displacement motorcycles targeted at China and the rest of the Asian continent.
The bike will be 338cc in displacement, and be released first in China, with the other Asian markets to follow.
When it comes to rumors about Harley-Davidson, everything is up for grabs. The Bar & Shield brand has done a complete about-face on its business paradigm, which means that no idea is too crazy for those in Milwaukee.
So, when we hear talk about a 250cc model from Harley-Davidson (supposedly an XR250 street tracker bike), we have to give it some credit, whereas before we might have dismissed it out hand for being crazy talk.
We know that Harley-Davidson is looking at electric models; we know that Harley-Davidson is looking at mainstream segments outside of the cruiser spectrum; and we know that Harley-Davidson will be looking at markets abroad for future growth.
What does this all mean? A 250cc model is almost the worst kept secret in Milwaukee.
It feels like the longest rumored machine in KTM’s future lineup. We are of course talking about the KTM 390 Adventure.
The missing link in the Austrian brand’s adventure-touring model range, which we have talked, rumored, and speculated about for well…quite a long time.
About a year ago though, Bajaj SVP and KTM India boss Amit Nandi tipped that we would see the KTM 390 Adventure in 2019. Well, that time is now, and rumors are once again heating up about this small-displacement ADV.
The headline shares our thoughts on the matter. Is there really a four-cylinder Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R in the works? That is the rumor coming out of Asia, and not exactly a new one.
The bike is expected to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year, in October, with an eye on reviving Japan’s lost history of screaming small-displacement machines.
While there seems to be some evidence that the bike will debut – sightings of a prototype have already been published – our reservations for excitement come from similar rumors that have failed to pan out.
It was just a few weeks ago that we told you how Pirelli was making purpose-built tires for the 300cc racing category, and now we get word that Dunlop is doing the same.
Creating the all-new KR448 front tire, and KR451 rear tire in sizes and compounds for bikes in the 300cc to 400cc range, Dunlop its making sure that it has a firm grip on the small-displacement categories that are filling grids on race tracks around the world, but especially in the United States.
It seemed like it would be only a matter of time before we saw a tire manufacturer catering to the rise of small-displacement racing machines.
So, it doesn’t surprise us too much to see Pirelli is leading the charge, and releasing a set of superbike slicks that are designed for the new 300cc class of sport bikes.
We are not sure how big the market is for a 125cc adventure-tourer, especially in the European Union. Close to zero, perhaps? Yet, we are very excited about the Honda CB125X concept (along with its fraternal twin, the Honda CB124M concept).
Maybe the Honda CB125R platform is the wrong starting point for this project, but we like where the Honda Motor Europe R&D team finished with this build.
The CB125X is a clean and attractive motorcycle, and we would romp through every river crossing we could find on this small-displacement thumper.
What you are looking at is a Honda CB125R…well, it was the retro-modern 125cc street bike, until Honda Europe R&D got their dirty little mitts on it. Rethinking the pint-sized machine, Honda has created a very fetching concept motorcycle, which it calls the Honda CB125M.
Honda pitches the CB125M as a supermoto, which makes sense with the bike’s 17″ wheels front and bike, but we think the format lends itself more to a mini-moto machine (we were actually surprised to learn that the Honda Grom was not the basis for this concept).
Either way you look at it, the Honda CB125M Concept is pure sex. It’s one of our favorite machines shown at EICMA this year. There is a growing movement in the small-displacement space, sub-300cc, and Honda is all over it (be sure to look at the Honda CB125X concept too).
Another model that we expected to see debut at the 2018 EICMA show, the Kawasaki Z400 is a logical evolution of the small-displacement lineup that Team Green is creating.
Built in conjunction with the Kawasaki Ninja 400 sport bike, the Z400 is the naked option for the street for new riders, short riders, and riders that want to do more with less.
This means that the 2019 Kawasaki Z400 has a 399cc parallel-twin engine, that produces 45hp (33.4 kW), which is a 6hp increase over the 300cc model that it replaces.
Kawasaki calls it “the toughest choice”, but we call it smart bike-building for the younger markets. Team Green’s big reveal at this year’s INTERMOT show was a Sophie’s Choice of 125cc machines, the Kawasaki Ninja 125 and the Kawasaki Z125.
As you would expect from the name, the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125 is a fully faired sport bike with a 125cc single-cylinder engine.
Designed for new riders, or veteran motorcyclists who want something smaller in their garage, the Ninja 125 looks like a strong offering for two-wheeled enthusiasts.
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.