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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Rumor Round-Up: 2002 Streetbikes

Next month, at Milan, Italy and elsewhere, dozens of new models will be introduced by motorcycle manufacturers from around the world.

We have tried to gather all of the rumors (at least, those that appear to have some substance behind them) regarding the new models you can expect from each major manufacturer.

From Aprilia, expect to finally see a naked bike featuring the 1000cc, 60 degree V-twin. Perhaps, as well, a 750cc version of the Mille. Less likely, but possible, is a new machine or two featuring a V-4 engine configuration.

Aprilia’s recent acquisitions, including Laverda and Moto Guzzi, should feature some re-designed models. It is too early for new engine designs or configurations funded by Aprilia, but Laverda and Moto Guzzi should have a few existing models with re-designed frames, suspension components, etc.

Don’t expect much from Ducati other than the new Monster 620 i.e. (previously shown on our site). The 996 replacement is generally considered to be another year from introduction.

Benelli should display two production versions of the three cylinder Tornado 900, including a limited edition and a standard edition. The rumored naked bike featuring the same engine may or may not be displayed in prototype form.

Triumph is working on the next generation Speed Triple, which typically follows on the heels of the new Daytona (already introduced by Triumph a few months ago). The new Speed Triple should debut next month. Also, Triumph should debut re-designed Trophys (both a 955cc triple and a 1273cc four). Expect the new Trophys to feature shaft drive and to move further towards the luxury end of the sport touring category. Finally, it is anticipated that Triumph will introduce a “cruiser” version of the new Bonneville.

Harley-Davidson and Buell have already shown their major new models, including the V-Rod and the XB9R, respectively.

Honda should introduce ten or more new models, including outright replacements for the ST1100 and VFR800. An ST1500, with a six-cylinder engine, is expected from Honda, while the VFR800 should receive entirely new styling, VTEC variable valve timing, and a slight increase in displacement. The VTEC feature on the new VFR should substantially boost torque, and broaden the powerband over the existing model. Reportedly, the design of the new VFR is quite radical, and it must be remembered that the VFR typically showcases Honda’s latest and greatest technology for the motorcycle industry. Pictures of the new naked 900 (known as the Hornet 900 in Europe) have already appeared all over the Internet, including on our site. Additionally, Honda will introduce a replacement for the CBR929RR, displacing approximately 954cc, with revised chassis and less weight (including titanium muffler). The CBR954RR (?) should resemble the re-designed F4i in its style. Honda might also debut a new Dual Sport, and a new generation RC51 (SP1 in Europe) with styling, chassis and engine refinements.

Yamaha will debut a new R1, again displacing approximately 1000cc, but fuel injected and lighter. The frame of the new R1 will closely resemble that of the R7, and should be anodized black. A European model, the TDM850, should receive updates and a displacement boost to 900cc. Yamaha has already introduced to the press its Road Star Warrior power cruiser.

In addition to the Kawasaki Mean Streak already introduced to the press, expect Kawasaki to introduce new ZX-9R and ZX-6R models (almost definitely a new 9R, but the 6R is less definite). With Kawasaki’s strong tradition of 900cc sportbikes, do not expect a capacity increase with the new 9R, which should remain approximately 898cc. Additionally, there is some indication that Kawasaki will introduce its own open-class, naked bike, featuring a version of the ZX-9R motor, and perhaps a Ducati-style trellis frame.

Suzuki may have a surprise or two. Rumors of a TL1000S successor, known as the SV1000, are fairly strong. Gone will be the rotary-style rear suspension, which will be replaced with a more conventional linkage design. In Europe, for sure, Suzuki will debut a big, 1000cc V-twin Dual Sport, featuring a version of the TL1000 motor. Suzuki has already shown its massive, GSX1400 naked bike, which may make its way to the United States. Finally, there is some indication Suzuki has its own V-twin power cruiser in development, which may see the light of day in September.

As always, there will be surprises, and we will have missed the mark on some of the bikes, but this gives you an idea of what the rumor mill is churning out.