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2001 Rumor Round Up – Street Bikes (Part Two)

A category virtually ignored in my recent rumor round up article was the “naked bike” category. This is a brief summary of some of the rumors floating around the Internet and other print publications.

Suzuki’s SV650 may be enlarged to 750cc. The ability of the lower end of the engine to handle a larger displacement top end has been discussed previously on MD, and noted by at least one British tuning firm. In our recent ride review of the SV650, we noted the satisfying performance of the bike in its current form, and a 750 would be just that much more satisfying. Particularly, if the overall weight of the motorcycle is not increased.

Another potential naked bike introduction next year, discussed by MD in the past, is the so-called Honda VTX800. Featuring a v-twin design, the VTX800 would compete directly with the SV750 (or 650, as the case may be). Let’s hope that this rumor is true, and that Honda keeps it light. Honda Hawk 650 owners are waiting anxiously.

In the big bore naked bike category, Kawasaki is rumored to be developing a ZRX1200, featuring the new ZX-12R motor. With naked bikes being big sellers in Europe, Honda jumped in with its own new naked bike last year — featuring a detuned version of its CBR1100XX motor. Kawasaki, apparently, is following suit.

So is Yamaha, according to Motorcycle News in Europe. Yamaha is looking to produce a naked, or half-faired, bike featuring its R-1 motor.

Unfortunately for the United States, we receive only a small percentage of the naked bikes produced. We just aren’t viewed as “naked bike friendly”. In any event, this appears to be changing in the U.S., and we may eventually receive some or all of these models.