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2014 Trends in Motorcycling – Our Readers Weigh In

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We want your thoughts below in the comments section about 2014 trends. The United States market has so much variety now, from big cruisers and exotic sport bikes costing more than $20,000 to the rapid emergence of small-displacement, inexpensive commuter bikes and beginner bikes. Some of the traditional categories like sport bikes have softened, while dual sport and adventure touring motorcycles have become more popular. Naked bikes used to be parts-bin specials, but now they are getting top drawer components and engine performance. Customizers used to focus on cruisers almost exclusively, but cafe racers and standards now command the attention of many enthusiasts looking to add their personal touch to their ride.

Yamaha has embraced three-cylinder engines beginning with its FZ-09, and Honda is making good on its promise to develop more production bikes with V-4 power. What engine designs and layouts are trending upward?

When it comes to accessories, the only limit is our imagination. From cosmetic to functional, accessories serve many needs. LED accessory lighting, in some cases more powerful than the stock lighting on your motorcycle, is one emerging trend.

Motorcycle/scooter hybrids are always interesting, and there are always new developments in this area. Big engines, big performance coupled with step-through design and CVT transmissions, as well as pure electric alternatives.

In short, what’s your vision for the future of motorcycling? What trends will emerge or strengthen next year?

221 Comments

  1. dave says:

    the future? That they wake up see we don’t give a ducks bill about cc and bring in GPM bikes like the honda cargo 150. Motorcycle and scooter that get at least 80 mpg and do 55 mph . why buy a 1000 cc bike that going to cost me more then a car to run ? Were I live it’s 100 bucks a month for insurance once you go above 700cc. In Europe they have a host of small cc bike to buy we don’t. The future is 100 MGG at 76 MPH.

  2. william says:

    Dual sport reverse trike. All electric bikes. Lower seat heights. Lower cost bikes. Every manufacturer makes a bike like the KTM 350 Freeride. Bike for the casual offroad trail rider that is not just a poorly tweeked mx bike. However, what I think we will actually see is more of the same bikes I don’t want to buy, tall, heavy, expensive.

  3. racerxnico says:

    I don’t know if it will happen this year, but the hybrid turbo tech will hopefully trickle down to bikes before too long. They use an energy recovery system instead of a waste gate to charge an electric motor. When you get on the gas, the electric motor gives immediate power to fill in the gap where you would normally have turbo lag. As the turbo spools up, the electric lays back lets it take over. All the benefits of the turbo, with the electric making up for its shortcomings. The big question will be how small and light the electrical components can be made. The combination could lead to some pretty stellar power & efficiency numbers.

  4. Alon Walker says:

    I think my favorite motorcycle company should take their new three cylinder motor and go modular with it. Build a range of bikes from a single to a inline 4 from the basic bore / stroke piston design. Add shaft or belt drive to create a mid size FJR, Bodywork and suspension upgrade for sport, etc. With slow world economic growth, this would save them money and we would still get new models in all classes..Honda motorcycle division seems as lost as their Acura group…

  5. Cochise750 says:

    I liked the late model Nortons … 1 mule with 3 sets of clothes .
    1. Norvil — Production Racer … sort of a “cafe racer” ( All Yellow )
    2. Interstate — Big Tank .. Long Distance stance… Silver Tank … (Red/Black) stipes & black Norton Decal .
    3. Roadster — Daily Rider … Black Tank .. Gold Decals

    Buy the Mule in “1”form … and then accessorize over time with the 2 other sets of clothes . Three bikes in one and constant upgrading of components.

    Now ride a 01 ZRX 1200 …building a Gary Nixon Cafe Racer copy of the the 67 Daytona winner … at 74y.o. …. I know that explains a lot. ;-))

  6. Lenz says:

    Lightweight 3 cylinder engine @ a bore / stroke ratio ~ 1.1, laid down / forward inclined ~ 60+ deg from vertical, supercharged maybe to reduce engine mass and increase output, 3 cylinder engine config could be compressed in lateral dims by shifting the middle cylinder fore/aft of the outer cylinder centreline and “pulling in” the outer cylinders – total width very close to a parallel twin. Say 50% more length in the suspension than std road suspension to cope with B grade “road” surfaces, delete the production expense of performance modes and redirect funds into suspension quality / capability

    Failing all that development just squeeze the KTM 1290 power plant into the KTM SMT and I’d giggle like a COMPLETE fool until I was jailed for license abuse or mostly scraped up into a bodybag

  7. Ed says:

    Looked at and seriously considered the FZ09, I liked the gray one but hated the purple wheels. Then I priced the insurance….$501 @ 62 yrs old are you kidding me? Then there was the $1400 to $1800 in fees to buy it, not only taxes but shipping and dealer fees too. I bought a used Road King with 7000 miles on it, insurance is $230 a yr ,$700 in transfer fees. I also liked the 650 Burgman but the wife isn’t ready to be on a scooter, fees were in the same region as the Yamaha. Maybe a CTX700 DCT in 3yrs when I see how reliable it is. I can’t believe the cost of insuring a 700cc bike vs a 1500cc harley. I do like the foot rear brake set up on the CTX (carpel tunnel acts up at times on my clutch hand)and I like the mpg estimates. We’ll see if I can test ride it at Bike week in Daytona…not laying out that kind of cash never having ridden one. Might just change my time line.

  8. PeteN95 says:

    Not CVTs, DCTs! But with enough clutch plates so they don’t slip like the VFR12.

    TC and ABS, but with adjustment and an off switch.

    Direct injection and turbos!

    A hybrid electric AWD with an electric motor/generator in the front wheel!

  9. RichBinAZ says:

    Trends I would like to see
    1) Belt Drives for rear wheels
    2) Driver comfort – better seating, adjustable handlebar & footpeg positions or have a variety available for the customer at delivery time at no extra cost.
    3) Maintainabilty has to improve. If they want us to change spark plugs every 8000 miles, put them somewhere we can get to them and put a plug wrench in the tool kit. Or just say 100,000 miles like most cars do now. New brake hoses every 4 years??? you have to be kidding me – are they going to fail at 4 years and 1 day??? How about an easy oil change for forks and shocks.
    4) Bring back a centerstand

    I Could go on, but…

  10. Mike says:

    I’m completely out of the norm.

    As a 43 year old living in Iowa here is what I want in a motorcycle:

    Reliable
    Arm ripping power
    Every bit of technology available but make it so I can turn it off
    Comfortable (Honda 919 was a perfect fit for me)
    Not real concerned about looks
    Light
    Sounds good with factory exhaust
    Nice instrument panel. It’s nearly 2014, no motorcycle should come without a gear indicator.

    With those things in mind I’d probably lean towards Aprilia Tuono, BMW S1000R, or KTM 1290 SD.

  11. Dave says:

    For me to think about spending money for a new bike, it will need to deliver low maintenance costs (like hydraulic valves to eliminate the biggest cost of maintenance), use regular fuel and deliver spectacular fuel mileage (55+ mpg) with lots of torque and handle and be more comfortable than my V Strom 650. Till then, I’ll stick with my wee…

  12. stinkywheels says:

    I’ve not any real new insights to add,but,for most,low maintenance, simplicity, cost, performance, range, style have been met, just not in the same bike. My Buell XBXT satisfies all but style and range, my 96 Monster satisfies all but the low maintenance and range. With the EPA dictating more of our bikes they’re not gonna be simpler or cheaper. I’ll live with my Buell and hope the parts continue to be available.

  13. analog rider says:

    motorcycles can get lighter and still be substantial. physical size is important but the weight (400+ lbs.) is restrictive. any adult should be able to right the motorcycle if (when) the bike is laying down. Highway size can be accomplished with aerodynamic body styling and new propulsion systems can help lower curb weight.

  14. Norm G. says:

    I predict more “riding” of the santas…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efw5UiKumQI

    merry xmas to all and to all a good nite. :)

  15. Azi says:

    I predict more Chinese performance motorcycles. (eg. CF Moto, Benelli)

  16. PatrickD says:

    An updated Aprilia Falco with the V4 engine. World beater.

  17. Tom says:

    An updated DR 650 and XR 650L

  18. takehikes says:

    I’ve got a Road Star cruiser and a 73 Sportster rigid frame chopper and am seriously considering giving them both up for a UJM like the CB1100. Frankly though with the advances in power and handling why not a 750? I really don’t need 1,700cc’s of anything unless it sin a car. I need a Swiss Army knife bike and I fear the recent past has given us nothing but specialty items.

    • Selecter says:

      Have you looked closer at the current bikes in a different light? The bog-naked “UJM” isn’t the only type of comfortable standard bike that can do anything.

      Look at any of the current, road-biased “Adventure Tourers”. They’re taller than the typical UJM, but when ridden on the road – commuting, touring, whatever – they make very, very good everyday Swiss Army Knife bikes. Look at the F800GS, V-Strom 650, Tiger 800, … there’s really not anything these bikes can not do! They’re fast, they handle really well (for the most part), there are tons of options for luggage (looking at it from a practical aspect here), and they won’t wear you out, nor will they bother you on slow city commutes if you do that. If the looks don’t grow on you… well, that’s not a functional demerit to the bikes themselves, just a personal preference.

      The other big category for bikes like this are the mid-displacement sport standards, both naked and faired. SFV650, Versys, Ninja 650, Monster 696/796, FZ6R, CB500F, Street Triple, F800R, – all of these will do pretty much anything you’d want to do, to varying degrees.

      I had a true UJM – a GS550E. There’s nothing that it did very well at all – it wasn’t fast, it didn’t handle well, it didn’t excite any of my senses, it made me feel like a parachute at freeway speeds, and it looked just like every other bike from the era. I have no doubt that Honda’s new CB is better in every way, but that whole family of bikes really isn’t any more useful than any of the bikes above if you can only have one ride.

      Nothing wrong with the CB1100F at all, but it’s hardly the only bike out there that’s not narrowly specialized.

      • GJ says:

        The best light to view the current crop of adventure tourers is none, in the dark in other words.. Without a doubt the ugliest collection of machinery ever to appear on the planet. From the tips of their beaks, to the end of 1st semester shop class luggage.

        • Selecter says:

          And just like I said – it’s mostly vanity that some people seem to have an issue with, not the motorcycles themselves.

          • Snake says:

            How about, “No”? I have no problem with their looks but I have LOTS of issue with their stance – “taller than a typical UJM” is the understatement of the decade. They are, simply, stupid tall.

            Actually, all too many modern motorcycle designs are “stupid tall”; can SOMEONE tell me why, when including more advanced design technology and an addition THIRTY YEARS of development, why the 2014 Ninja 1000 is TALLER than my 1984 Ninja 900?! (check the specs and see for yourself)

            Why do these bikes sit so tall that it simply adds to the already top-heavy design ethos of modern motorcycles and make it even WORSE? If the average stance of a American male is currently 5 foot 9.5 inches, and the average stance of a European male is currently 5 foot 10, why is the modern design standard 33 inch seat heights?! Didn’t that DOOM Triumph in the 1970’s and yet, here we are, settling for this.

            You may think that we are given a lot of “freedom of choice” but, if you look carefully, the choices aren’t truly that diverse due to common design themes across each:

            – “adventure tourers”, all with >33 inch seat heights, even the 650’s

            – cruisers, every one over 600 pounds as Honda as discontinued the [excessively short-seated] 750’s this year. Honda *had* a great design in their 750, until they decided that 25 inch was the new ticket for the class and thereby locked out everyone of average build from ever fitting on it.

            – sportbikes, every one with low clip-on’s and tall and hard seats

            – sport-tourers, with the exception of the BMW F800 every one, yet every one, over 1100cc and significantly over 600 pounds with a minimum of 130 horsepower. BWM R-ST and F800 considered the “lightweight” of the field; R-ST only this year dropped seat height back to a ‘reasonable’ (read: within 75th-percentile) average height.

            – dual-sport: see problem with “adventure-tourer”

            – roadser – some hit a good target combination of fuel range / ‘rider friendliness’ / practicality / ease of ownership but for all too many companies “roadster” means take sportsbike with peaky, high HP engine and short range with only OK ergos and strip away bodywork. Put on sale and witness mediocre sales.

            – UJM – so, Japan Inc., you’ve FINALLY noticed that the people with MONEY (middle-aged buyers, because going after the young folk has put your sportbike sales down in the basement) hate many of your designs because we can’t fit, don’t feel comfortable bent-over in what you call a “riding position” AND we want some practicality too (luggage and range, anyone?).

            The Ducati Mutlistrada is a nice bike but the perfect example of people buying a bike based upon other people’s (read:reviewers) expectations. Oh yes, we all NEED a 33-inch tall, 160 HP bike for every occasion, now don’t we?!

        • reg kittrelle says:

          Having owned several “adventure” bikes, I agree re their “ugly” quotient. But then, they are powerful, comfortable, hugely flexible, and a hoot to ride. And the look? Well, I can’t see it from behind the bars, so, I guess the problem’s yours, not mine.

    • Clarke Johnston says:

      Problem is that many of the new “adventure” bikes are so danged fugly. Beaky bills, mix ‘n match headlights, frames going all which a ways . . very little curb appeal. Which is a shame. The new V-Strom 1000 is yet another example. Just not good looking. But. Esthetics need not be all bad. The new Guzzi 1400 California is quite good looking. The Diavel, not so much. The second generation of the CB100 with spoke wheels all turned out in one color (white) very sharp looking. When Kawasaki imported the W650, nobody bought them. I’ve sat on the Super Tenere and the Explorer 1200. Both are, frankly, hard for this old fart to get a leg over. But, do like centerstands! Merry Christmas. May Triumph built a 1600 “standard” Bonneville. Yamaha could import the MT-01. One can hope!

    • JBoz says:

      2 words: ZRX baby! Oh, Mamma Kaw – still waiting for a ZRX1400

  19. Eddie says:

    This thread is a bunch of guys arguing about how their wife is the prettiest girl in the room.

  20. GJ says:

    I’m old (55) but I do like quite a few of the new nakeds. But since this is a wish list I LOVE the look of big wide transverse motors with no radiator or other clutter in the way. Nothing looks quite like it when walking up to a bike before a ride. So please Honda put a CBX with modern suspension, brakes,>100 HP to the wheel to keep it interesting and no frame downtubes on the drawing board. I promise if you do that I will wait in line at the dealer with a pocketful of cash to pay full price for it. Some old guys don’t want their retro to be a fill in the blank glide, and the chances are they have the money to buy what you build.

  21. Mr.Mike says:

    Please bring back the basic 70’s UJM. Please bring back 400cc to 650cc parallel twins with flat two position seats and no plastic body parts. Please don’t update or “reimagine” the UJM styling like Honda did with the CB1100. The old styling was just fine exactly as it was. The new CB500 looks like it might provide a perfect platform for this.

    • John says:

      I would simply prefer a modern UJM with interchangeable parts available from the dealer – wheels, suspension, body parts, subframe, seat, etc. Take a single basic design and turn it into whatever you want, from a cafe race to an ADV bike or sport tourer.

    • NormS says:

      I’m with Mr.Mike. The old flat two position bench seats would be a big improvement. It allows freedom of movement. I would rather be up on top of my bike rather than in it. I am tired of all the plastic bodywork. I refuse to pay good money for it. I don’t consider purchase of bikes that are blacked out. I’m not a follower of style for the sake of style. Road comfort in or out of town would be a priority for me as well as good handling. It would be nice to have an old style UJM along with today’s up-to-date systems. I would hope the manufacturing establishment is listening.

  22. Mr.Mike says:

    Suzuki should take another stab at the RE5.

  23. todder says:

    My girlfriend would love to see a smaller bonneville 350-500cc which is at least 100 pounds lighter. And make sure it’s still cute.

    I love the naked/standard bike trend going on right now, especially under 10k.

    • Guylr says:

      That would be a Twenty-one or Speed Twin wouldn’t it?

      • todder says:

        How about 21 for a friendly cheap scoot and speed twin for the retro cafe crafting crowd. Really cool examples I’ve seen at Barber Motorsports would be great excitement for 2015.

  24. Bob Pierson says:

    The long list of types of cycles, and scooters, answers the question. The trend since perhaps the mid 80’s has been specialization with a big dose of nostalgia for antique heavyweight Vee twins. This isn’t going to change.

    One thing rarely mentioned in all this is how much it has changed out on the road since the mid 60’s when I took to cycles. There are far more cars going much faster and more people concentrated in metro areas. To deal with that bikes have had to become bigger and faster and more capable in all aspects. Cars themselves are vastly more capable as well after all. It’s war out there on the road in a sense and I can hardly imagine starting out on a bike today in any major metro area. There are few places a kid could hop on the equivalent of a Honda S90 today and just take off. That in part because the distances we see as routine now to do our daily thing are far greater than they used to be. I know most don’t get this but life for most was far more local the longer one goes back in time.

    The trend in the US because of all that is fewer and fewer young riders and that’s before the economic trends effecting youth today. The trend for manufacturers has to be away from the US. I’m actually sort of surprised at the amount of development ongoing in the face of a stagnant market.

    The one trend I have expected which has not come is the return of forced induction. To this day the Honda CX Turbo remains the outline of a bike that could do it all.

    65 Ducati Monza 250
    69 Triumph 650 Bonneville
    73 Moto Guzzi LeMans
    80 Kawasaki KZ 750
    ?? Suzuki XS 850
    83 Honda 750 Sabre
    95 Kawasaki 1100 Gpz
    02 Kawasaki ZZR 1200
    05 Kawasaki ZZR 1200

  25. Excalibear says:

    I see a trend of filling holes between categories. As the types of bikes fill out with options, every brand tries to make their offering unique by creating a new category in between categories. For example we have Adventure, Sport Adventure, Road Adventure, Off-Road adventure, etc. Soon you will see “Sport Enduro Adventure”, “Road Sport Adventure”, “Road Touring Adventure”, “Off-Road Exploring Wetlands Extreme Adventure”, and so forth. This will make it easier for the buyer to zero in to their ideal bike, which will do most everything well and it’s own niche extremely well.
    And speaking of zero, Electric will continue to get better and chase after IC market share. Even if battery performance hits a plateau, other refinements, innovations and lower prices will make e-bikes more popular every day.

  26. Charlie says:

    I’m hoping that Triumph will make the bike I wanted the Tiger 800 to be; A true Tiger Cub in 400 to 500cc version that has a curb weight of 400 pounds or less. Add a 19″ front wheel for a little fire roading, switcable ABS and a comfortabe riding position. (seat height around 31-32 inches). A twin would be fine.

    The 650 V-Strom is almost there but it needs to shed some weight and seat height.

    This platform could also serve for a smaller light weight Bonneville II.

    I think a lot of older riders like myself are are looking for less weight and more comfort without giving up too much in all round capability.

    • John says:

      I want them to lop a cylinder off the 800 and make a Tiger Cub and Tiger Trail 530cc twins. But would work for a mini Sprint commuter or even entry Daytona. Or a 530cc Scrambler or Motard.

      • thoppa says:

        Cheap Jap twins are making a comeback – a new Honda 500 and Yamaha 690 this year, with the older Kawasaki 650 and Suzuki 650 still available too. So if Triumph are going to make a mid-size twin to compete, it’d have to be cheap and light, A2 compliant (perhaps with a restrictor kit), so perhaps a Street Triple downsized to a 550 twin and made in India ? I love what Yamaha have done with their new MT/FZ bikes and hope we get fewer fours and more twins and triples. In fact, I’m really hoping for an ultracompact narrow-angle V3 400cc ultralight bike… but I’m probably the only one…

  27. John says:

    Another interesting thing I’ve noticed that is happening, and this is so good for everyone, is that the smaller engined bikes are ALSO physically smaller. This hasn’t been the case in awhile. Many 800cc bikes were the exact same size as a 1200cc bike. Many shared the same frame. But if you’re a smaller guy like me, it’s better to have a bike sized to your frame with the appropriate engine, than having to buy a 1300cc bike that weighs 500-600lbs and makes you stand on tiptoes. This helps save the company money, by downsizing the bike by 5-10%, and lowering the weight and costs of materials. During the 90s and much of the 2000s, it was hard to find a bike that wasn’t at least an inch too tall to be comfortable from almost anyone. But now smaller engine bikes are also getting smaller and more accessible. I largely thank BMW for this.

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      I think one reason for this is the continued development of steel trellis-framed, engine as stressed-member architecture (popularized by Ducati, refined by KTM) and away from twin-spar aluminum frames which appear to have a minimum effective scale that keeps bikes large. As a mountain biker, I have long praised the vibration-quelling qualities of high-end steel frames. It seems that steel gives a bike (motorized or non) soul (ZRX, CB1100) that aluminum frames rarely match (excepting maybe the original sv 650 frame)

      • John says:

        Interesting, because steel rings like, ummm, a bell. However, if 3D printing continues on the path, it would eventually be capable of doing mixed metals and honeycomb infrastructure within the frame itself, yielding virtually no vibration and incredible mix of rigidity and low weight.

  28. Tank says:

    I would like a bike that looks like a Harley and rides like a Ninja 650.

    • jake says:

      I’m with you there. According to MD, they already do. It’s called the Moto Guzzi California. Or at least Moto Guzzi has shown that it is not very difficult to build such a bike.

  29. skybullet says:

    We have never seen such a variety of bikes searching for a market. Experienced riders have a huge choice of high dollar bikes but a lot of us are smart enough to wait for a 1 to 3 year old used bike at a substantial discount.
    Why not offer a light (under 350 lbs wet), adequately suspended, 750cc to 1000cc, twin or triple, standard or street oriented adventure (all day comfortable) with few or no plastic fairings?

    • Dave says:

      Re:”Why not offer a light (under 350 lbs wet), adequately suspended, 750cc to 1000cc, twin or triple, standard or street oriented adventure (all day comfortable..”

      Because that’s impossible, at least on a financial scale that is within reach of more than a few individuals. Full race superbikes weigh that much with no seats or road equipment.

  30. Martin B says:

    You can talk all you want about a power kick when you sneeze or twitch the throttle, but what does it for me is the way a bike flows through a series of turns gracefully and effortlessly, leaning over as far as possible and then switching to the next turn without thought. You just can’t do this with big heavy multicylinder bikes.

    I like how a big single becomes an extension of my body, and the throttle at peak torque only needs tiny movements to slow or speed up – in fact the speed should be as even as possible. Speeding up and slowing down for corners isn’t fast, it just annoys the cars behind who these days can drive as fast as most bikes.

    Mind you, I live in a mountainous country – you flatlanders can decide for yourselves what works for you. And I do like a bike that looks good – nothing on sale at present. The 1968/69 Triumph Trophy or Bonneville, same era Mustangs epitomize my idea of style.

  31. John says:

    I think to see where we’re going it helps to look from where we are coming. The 90s was probably the worst decade ever for motorcycling. Either uncomfortable crotch rockets or slow, horribly performing cruisers that had no value but looking cool to a small group of impressionable people. And a few super fat tourers.

    Then we went into a total diversification mode, which was great, but then we got bikes that were either taken to extremes or were just lame old rehashes. I remember going into bike stores and immediately being turned off of virtually ever bike I threw a leg over simply based on the horrible ergonomics or one trick capability. Standards now come in flavors like “naked”, “roadster”, “ADV”, “motard”, “cafe”, “retro” and other varities but how does this help them achieve their mission?

    Now we’ve finally gotten to bikes that are merging capabilities and becoming multi-trick ponies, and at lower, better prices and with smaller, necessary engines too, not just big, heavy, expensive engines. I’m hoping that we’re finally in a mode where bikes start to defy categories and simply get back to doing multiple tasks well. Why can’t I have a 700-800cc sport tourer with shaft drive and a trunk? Does it stop being sporty if there’s a shaft? Why can’t I have a 350lb dual sport 500cc twin? Do I need to be shaken to pieces by a single giant piston? For that matter, why can’t I have a 350-450cc single DP bike that has a comfortable seat height? Was I planning on winning a race later?

    When you look back at bikes like the VT500F, the Sabre 750, the early VFRs, heck, the ZRX, the R1100S, these are bikes that did a lot of things well and had great design, so why don’t we have more of this? The Ninja 650R is a great practical bike. The CB500 and NC700s seem like a bit of common sense, as do the new KTMs made in India. The Yamaha 07 and 09 look fantastic. Hopefully we’ll get a whole lot more of it now.

    • mickey says:

      Have you seen a CB 1100? UJM..make it anything you want. Guys of the CB1100forum.com have turned them into everything from a lightweight tourer to a cafe racer and some are now pushing close to 100 hp at the rear wheel ( not that 88 crank hp isnt enough)

      • John says:

        Yes, of course, that’s the kind of thing that companies are getting right finally. It’s not my personal favorite idea as I don’t really care for I4 engines, prefering Vs or an i3 or I2. But I’m glad it exists.

        If you look at a lot of the new Ducatis, they’re all just slight variations on the same theme. The Hypermotard, the Multistrada, the Hyperstrada. To me, Triumph does the best job of offering a great line up with fewer resources than the Japanese and it will be a great thing when they offer some 500cc bikes too, maybe even a basic trail/DP bike. They are great at taking the same platform and making 3-4 versions that are sufficiently different to appeal to completely different people.

    • todd says:

      I have a K75S, 750cc triple, shaft drive with luggage. That bike and a 400-class enduro makes anyone’s life whole.

  32. Mike Simmons says:

    I would like to see the manufacturers concentrate on the sport touring market a little more. Sure, it’s a tiny niche, but we like new bikes too! I mid-size sport tourer to replace the Honda NT700 would be nice and an updated ST1300 to compete with the Kaw Concours and Yam FJR. Are they listening in the land of the rising sun?

    • John says:

      I would love to see a roadster version of the ST1300. That engine is beautiful. If it were to come with a smaller, 800cc version of the ST, even better.

  33. Phillip says:

    A lot of bikes would be just great if the prices were lowered 30 to 40 percent. A Honda Accord is a much better deal than a Goldwing for about the same money. $12k + for a VStrom 1000. I’ll take a 3 y/o Harley for that kind of money.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “A lot of bikes would be just great if the prices were lowered 30 to 40 percent.”

      oooh oooh, I can do ya one better. EVERYTHING IN LIFE would be just great if the prices were lowered 30 to 40 percent. no wait, free. how’s free work for ya…?

      of course due to the sudden reduction/absence of cash flow brought on by our short-sightedness, most things we depend on and take for granted would collapse in on themselves as the economy ground to a halt.

      • mickey says:

        ……good one Norm…… So true.

      • John says:

        True, but for instance, I love a lot of the big 1000cc and up bikes but would prefer to have the exact same bike in a 700cc-800cc version at a lower price. And in some cases, a 500cc version would do. Like the Tiger XC would be a whole lot more attractive to me as a 530cc twin for under $10K. I’d also rather have a 350cc-450cc single than a 650cc single. The ST1300, very cool. But I’d rather have an 800cc shafty like my old Sabre and Ascot. But it’s easier to tack on a big price to a big bike. If I buy a new bike, it will either be a Freeride, a Duke 390, CB500x or NC750x, because even though they are not exactly what I want, I would rather have ‘not exactly right’ for $6000 than ‘not exactly right’ for $12,000.

        • George says:

          The cost of manufacture has a lot to do with the NUMBER of parts and not the SIZE of parts. Thus a 750cc triple costs about the same to build as a 1000cc-1200cc triple.

          However, a 750cc twin is probably considerably cheaper to build than a 1000 cc triple or 4-cyl bike.

          I remember back in the 80s when the big 4 all had bikes in 550, 650, 750, 1000/1100cc 4 cylinder sizes and stepped prices according to displacement but most everything else being about the same… and then they all went through serious financial crises… afterward, there were only 600, 750 and 1000 and then the 750 slowly faded away so all we have is 600 and 1000cc 4 cyl. Now we are starting to see simpler triples and twins come out. That is a good thing IMO

    • jake says:

      Yea, but he has a point. As this part of the world becomes more impoverished relative to the rest of the world, I would expect prices to drop in real world terms in the future. We are already seeing such drops with the new Honda and Yamaha releases.

      Bikes cost about 1/3 less in India. No reason why they should cost more here.

      • jake says:

        Make that 2/3’s less.

        • Doc says:

          Those Hondas and Yamahas are not coming from Japan. They are coming from Thailand and China. And other low wage paying countries, India being another one. Do you want to cut the person’s wage 2/3 to make bikes cheaper just so you can buy one? Let’s cut your wage 2/3’s just so someone out there can afford whatever it is you’re doing to make it better for them. What do you say?

          • Guylr says:

            Both of the new Yamahas are coming from Japan with low prices courtesy of the recent devaluation of the Yen.

          • jake says:

            Yup, and the low priced Yammies are concrete proof that Harley could build their new Streets here in the U.S. and still price them below the competition. No need to go to India at all.

      • mickey says:

        Again Jake, Americans are not becoming more impoverished.. They have plenty of money for fancy houses, fancy cars, fancy clothes, big screen TVs, high end electronics, smart phones, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, tattoos, lottery tickets..the list is endless. Americans like to CLAIM they are poor, and the government likes to Convince us we are poor by increasing funding on social welfare programs, but trust me if you have ever seen impoverished people..you will know it. When people are complaining about the price of unnecessary toys, they are not impoverished.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “When people are complaining about the price of unnecessary toys, they are not impoverished.”

          and there it is. just in time for xmas.

      • Norm G. says:

        i read recently that apple (in china) pays $8 dollars in labor to assemble the very iphone im typing out this post on. $8 DOLLARS…!!! seems to me they could pay QUADRUPLE that to the employee and still have a healthy return. but see, nobody begrudges them a profit and this is GINORMOUS business… not the niche business of motorcycling.

        any comment/conversation that demonstrates an inability to differentiate between the economics governing these two industries is a FAIL.

  34. Oilhead says:

    To this day I continue to enjoy the simplicity, practicality, and FUN of the MuZ Skorpion that I purchased new and have modified over the years. It’s good to see that similar offerings in the current market offer the same potential to satisfy new owners. Less IS more!

  35. Silver says:

    I love that Yamaha is demonstrating that lighter is always better no matter how centralized the mass is. Bikes keep getting bigger and heavier and when these new electronics start to crap out, they will be worthless. Used Multistrada anyone?

    I’m also starting to wonder if ANY Japanese manufacturers can build a good looking bike these days…

    • jake says:

      Thought we already settled this issue on this forum. The Japanese style their bikes ugly on purpose so as to give Harley and the Europeans room to breath, and the Europeans and Harley make their bikes intentionally unreliable so as to give their counterparts in Japan room to breath. The quid pro quo of big business.

      • denny says:

        Are you saying ‘conspiracy’?

        • jake says:

          I suppose. Capitalism is what? A group of people conspiring together to make more money, right? So the question is not whether a “conspiracy” exists (that’s a given), as much as what kind and why does it exist.

          Of course, Capitalism is also founded on impersonal, automatic forces being its ultimate driving force – what supposedly differentiates it from Communism. So, as a result, naive people unable to see anything beyond the surface assume conspiracy and Capitalism and market economy do not go together. But of course, they are mistaken.

    • John says:

      And just when I was wondering what happened to Yamaha’s claim of being able to lighten engine weight significantly too!

  36. Carl Allison says:

    There’s no shortage of innovative/evolutionary designs across a multitude of manufacturers. It doesn’t matter what’s out there if there’s no dealership network or parts availability.

  37. mikeg says:

    Here are the trends I am hoping for –

    LOWER WEIGHT,
    LOWER TECH (fewer electronic distractions)
    LOWER MAINTENANCE,
    Less plastic, more metal (except when absolutely necessary to lower weight)
    HIGHER MPG’S
    Light efficieant shaft drives

    and last but not least –

    LOWER MSRP – shouldn’t need a govt job to afford a new motorcycle.

    Honda and Yamaha are on the right track if you ask me. The CTX 700 and Fz 9 are harbingers of where the industry needs to go.

    • John says:

      The NC750x would be virtually ideal if it had a shaft drive, as would a more offroadable CB500X. An FJR900 triple shafty would be slick. A Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Tourer or ADV bike too. A naked ST1300 Roadster would be awe-inspiring.

      I had a 500cc and 700cc shaft drive bikes decades ago and they were reasonably light and certainly didn’t lack noticeable power delivery or fuel economy for the shaft.

    • Russ says:

      Amen to all the above.
      I would like to see more bikes with belt drive instead of chain.
      I am really looking forward to seeing the new Harley Street 500 and 750.

    • Al says:

      Well said!

    • MG3 says:

      And please if I could talk directly to the manufacturers – we are done with the whole ‘aerodynamic / angry insect / alien’ look for motorcycles, and cars too! Man that is getting so overdone. I would like to buy a new motorcycle, not a new preying mantis. Just IMHO – thanks.

  38. ABQ says:

    Hondas new midsize automatics are a better concept than the maxi-scooters. I hope this trend continues.

    • analog rider says:

      I have a Honda CTX w/DCT-ABS and really enjoy it. like showing bigger bikes how quick it is. and great handling thru the turns.

  39. Senior Wrangler says:

    Years ago (25+) a far greater percentage of models produced would do everything reasonably well. I miss those days. (I had a ’79 GL1000 that was bought new, and as heavy and ponderous as all the cycle mags decried it for being, it would do everything I asked of it. I commuted on it, threw on soft luggage so my wife and I could take two- week trips, and rode it just for the sheer joy of riding. My only real complaint was a narrow, hopelessly hard seat that not even Italians could love. I didn’t change it though, because nothing else looked right. But I digress.) For a long time bikes have been far too specialized, and have put off those of us who can afford only one bike. This state of affairs seems to be slowly reversing itself, but another issue has arisen that is just as bad. Style.

    One’s motorcycle should make one smile just to behold it’s beauty. But the blacked-out, overly-sculpted (with CHICKEN BEAKS! Are you listening Suzuki? Ducati?)conglomerations of metal and plastic leave me cold. Whatever happened to simple elegance? Only Honda’s CB1100, Triumph’s Bonneville T-100, and Moto Guzzi’s V7 Special come anywhere near it, and they still have too much black. I would pay dearly for a CB1100 with the polished engine and wheels, and a 4-into-2 exhaust for symmetry.

  40. J3an says:

    In the last five years, motorcycle manufacurers have focused on either being frugal or being excessively high-end. I think these motorcycles reflect that everyone has finally recieved what they want in terms of motorcyle.

    Having now developed motorcycles for most demographics, i think manufacturers will attempt to bringing more elusive parts of the business at a premium. These things are going to become commondirectly from the manufacturer: electonic suspensions, various seat options, various handlebar options, wireless integration thru smartphones.

    They are here now, but they will be far more common and accesible in the future.

  41. jake says:

    Trend has to follow the overall trend of America – rising gas prices and rising Hispanics (La Reconquista). The group identity riders will split into two, with the young Hispanics riding gaudy street warrior, naked bikes (the B-King was just ahead of its time) and Whites further identifying themselves with Harley and high priced cruisers. Smaller, less aggressive gangs will ride around in Adv/tourer bikes. Those who do not seek group identification will ride retro-bikes or commuter bikes.

    Rising gas prices will give cover for more people to rider commuter type bikes without feeling as if they have turned in their man cards. Continued hybridization between bikes and scooters to meet this demand for convenient commuters.

    The Japanese will dominate everything under 11K. Harley and Europeans will dominate everything over. KTM maybe the only European manufacturer that has success in the lower end market and Honda and Star the only Japanese in the higher end.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Trend has to follow the overall trend of America – rising gas prices and rising Hispanics (La Reconquista). The group identity riders will split into two, with the young Hispanics riding gaudy street warrior, naked bikes (the B-King was just ahead of its time) and Whites further identifying themselves with Harley and high priced cruisers.”

      what you talkin’ ’bout willis…?

      • jake says:

        Simple really. Hispanics have their own style and culture and tastes. They are also predominately working class. Basically, they do all the manual labor in this country. They will not want to identify with what certain demographic groups (we all know who I am talking about) are already riding. So they will pick their style and group around it, and those other groups will avoid those styles like the plague. It’s called group identity.

        • Dainy says:

          Hmm… I live near Hispanics neighborhood and don’t see what you describe… In fact I don’t see many Hispanic riding motorcycle either. you certainly go beyond imagination.

    • mickey says:

      Jake..where in the world do you come up with this stuff? lol

      • jake says:

        Which is more painful: To lose a loved one due to fate or because she prefers another and believes you are not good enough for her? Obviously, the latter because we take it so much more personally, even though the results, the loss, is the same. And this is the key to understanding the mysterious principle of change (trends as MD calls them) in a civilization which defines itself based on the notion of equality – at least supposedly.

        In a world of equality, people see their successes and failure in the light of the latter (personally), rather than the stoic quality of the previous societies which came before it. This would explain why there are so much mental illness, chronic illnesses related to stress, as well as psycho-somatic diseases in modern society. People demanded equality and freedom and they were granted it, but like the opening of Pandora’s box, those demands did not come alone. In an equal world, your successes and failure now become your own fault, not that of your overlords and masters or due to mere fate. In one of the great ironies of world history, massive increases of endless insecurities and an insurmountable sense of inferiority came along part and parcel with our new found (so called) freedoms.

        In a world like ours today where everything is so hypersensitive and taken so personally, with people feeling insulted by the slightest misstep or word, if you seek the magical principle of change, then look no further than the human heart.

        Yes, CC’s and cylinders can be the instruments of change, but their influence is mere ripples in the ocean compared to the gigantic waves of the human heart – its aspirations, insecurities, and its group and ethnic identifications. .

  42. Blackcayman says:

    I think that Yamaha embracing the triple in a simple, affordable standard (FZ-09) is the most significant motorcycle of the year.

  43. Skido says:

    I feel that since the eighties, we have all been sucked into the myth that bigger and faster are going to equal more enjoyment.

    Will 2014 be the year we rediscover the joy of riding in raw form? Take something light and fun for a ride (Guzzi V7?) and judge the bike by the smile on your face and not the specs in the brochure.

    We all started riding on something small and quite possibly crap, and did we have fun? Hell yes. Do we have more fun on a R1 or the like?

    I wanna see some exciting mid sized models, how about a Turbo 500cc? Or a DI 2T 500 twin?

    The industry is in dire need of a shake up and some fresh ideas.

    • red says:

      “I feel that since the eighties, we have all been sucked into the myth that bigger and faster are going to equal more enjoyment.”

      Could not agree more. Fell into this mindset myself.. By late 2000’s finally woke up to it and has been renaissance for me. Heavy complex overpowered expensive farklebarges suck the fun out of motorcycling.

  44. JR says:

    The motorcycle I made reference to in my earlier comment was my 2004 Buell XB12S to which Harley who bought out Erik Buell.. then shut everything down. Now I see attempts by foreign manufactures to copy some of Erik’s designs, but then not going far enough. All I can say is that someone needs to step up to the plate because removing the top mechanic’s of a motorcycle engine to remove it’s valve cam shafts just to adjust valve clearance is stupid. Or with Honda’s NC700X you must remove the cooling core first to get to the valve adjusters. I will take hydraulic lifters anyday. So what is being passed off today as new is just old technology in a cheap design that will cost the owner more money down the road. Maybe it’s time to give up on motorcycles if this is what the new plan is, as many have done already. Thousands of dollars and it still has a chain rear drive.. really.

    • Selecter says:

      Chains are extremely strong, lightweight, and inexpensive. I had a shaft-drive bike (a Guzzi) – it was worse than a good chain in every way except one – you didn’t get any grease under your fingernails.

  45. George says:

    The trend I see building is VALUE.

    Motorcycles have become too expensive.

    Honda has their approach to value demonstrated in their 700cc and 500cc bikes using the same basic platform in several mostly cosmetic variations thus gaining a lot of mass production cost savings.

    Yamaha has their approach to value shown in their FZ/MT-09 and the MT-07. New models, few farkles, lots of bang for the buck.

  46. joe b says:

    Remember the Simpsons episode when Homer was given free reign to decide what the new car should be? This is what is written so far.

  47. Bill C says:

    I love the new FZ09 engine, but the rest of the bike leaves me cold.

    Can the manufacturers build something that doesn’t look like it came out of a video game or Transformers movie?

    Crazy non-functional body cladding, ugly exhausts and under-seat mufflers; I hope to see all that run its course soon!

    I’d like to see that Yamaha triple in a Gen 1 FZ-1 package. Keep the engine and the inverted forks, ditch the rest.

    Until then, I will keep my 2008 Bandit 1250S

    • Bob L. says:

      Bill, I totally agree. I like the FZ09 and I’m tempted…..until I think about needing to look at it. Yamaha could (and should) build a clean-design that flows and without the crazy “do-nothing” bits. They might be surprised that the 35-65 year old buyers will pay for technology that also looks like a motorcycle should. Just my opinion.
      I too, like the idea of a mid-sized, FJR triple but keep it around 475 lbs.

    • Tom R says:

      Sounds like you guys want a late 1970s UJM.

    • John says:

      True. The Yamahas are too techy. KTMs too, but somehow, KTM pulls it off. I love the engine configs but would prefer a 700cc Tenere or FJR900.

    • George says:

      I love my FZ09 but I do agree with you the aesthetics of the front and tank and the faux air scoops look stupid to me. I am working on changing that, step by step.

      I do love the performance and the light weight!

  48. Trent says:

    Overall I am very happy with the choice of motorcycles being designed and manufactured. The one thing that annoys me is the small size of the gas tank on many motorcycles. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have at least a 4.8 gallon tank on any bike that has a 250cc or larger engine. And it would be nice if fuel gauges were more accurate, too :)

  49. allworld says:

    What ever draws new riders into the sport/passion of riding works for me.
    Me personally; 3 cylinders get my attention. I like SPORT-touring bikes, like the Triumph Sprint ST 1050. I would love a single passenger, 800cc triple SPORT-touring bike, shaft driven.
    Bikes like the BMW F800GT or MV’s new Turismo Veloce 800, are close but not quite my dream bike.
    If Triumph re-worked their 800cc triple, put it in a the Street Triple chassis, with single passenger seating, hard side bags and a low profile top case in lieu of the passenger seat, some weather, wind protection and body work like the Trophy, and shaft driven, I would buy it today.

    • Dennis Hill says:

      AMEN!!!

    • marloweluke says:

      AMEN again. Yamaha baby FJR sport tourer with new triple engine, low weight. Chain drive is fine, don’t want the extra drive shaft weight.

      • sl says:

        I also think chain drive is fine. Maintaining them is not that big if a deal, and power loss is minimal. Plus you can change gearing easily. I don’t see the love of shaft and belt drive.

        • Tom R says:

          Power loss? Really?? Like anyone could actually notice a difference.

        • John says:

          They are QUIET. It is a huge difference in noise level, which is a big deal on a multi-hour ride.

        • Russ says:

          Picture this.
          A bike with dual exhaust, saddle bags,no center stand.(most cruisers)
          On a few thousand mile trip.
          How can you service the chain?
          I never have this problem with my BMW.R1200.
          And I don’t feel any power loss.
          It will do 130 mph, 2 up.
          And normal riding, I always get over 50mpg.

          • mickey says:

            For what it’s worth between my Yamaha FZ-1 and my Honda CB 1100 I have taken several multi thousand mile trips and neither bike needed a chain adjustment on any of the trips, just a lubing mid trip after riding in the raiin, and my FZ-1 went 30,000 miles before needing a set of sprockets and a chain. On the other hand my ST 1300 has 36000 miles on it and has NEVER needed a chain adjustment…just a couple of lube changes for the rear end.

      • John says:

        How much do you actually think a shaft drive weighs? Many very light motorcycles have had them. The VT500S weighed less with shaft than the new chain driven CB500F. The Moto Guzzis weigh less than the Triumph chain bikes. The Honda Sabre with shaft weighed 50lbs less than the VFR without it. The big BMWs are extremely light for their size.

  50. Tommy Boy says:

    I’ve been riding motorcycles for 40 out of my 46 years. I don’t really know where the overall market is headed right now, honestly, or whether the younger millennials will take up riding to the same degree as ‘boomers or gen-xers have. I’m not confident that the raft of “entry-level” bikes will necessarily bring them into the fold, unless we are targeting only new female riders. Electric, automatics, low displacement bikes may just alienate current enthusiasts while failing to attract new riders, at least in the US. I do know what I prefer. Personally, I love the growth and interest in the big sport naked (standards) and big ADV touring markets (I own four bikes, and they are all of that variety). So, here is what I am dreaming (and “dreaming” may be the operative word):

    1) Bullet-proof reliability with high valve adj. intervals, 25,0000+ miles
    2) Minimally-intrusive electronics that can be turned off on the fly (TC, etc.)
    3) Strong power: 150+ true RWHP (not crank power) with flat torque curve between 80-100 ft./lbs., similar to Multistrada, the new Super Duke or 1190 Adventure, RSV4 Tuono, the new S1000R naked, and ‘busa, B-King, and ZX14.
    4) Don’t overdo the electronics. I don’t need “skyhook” adjustable suspension, 6+ different power mapping modes, 3+ TC modes, or to run the bike with my iPhone or my tablet computer. I’m not sure I’m even a fan of ABS, honestly. And, I can buy aftermarket tuning accessories (PC or Z-Baz) if I want.
    5) Keep the weight well below 550 lbs fully fueled.
    6) And, bring it to me in a mass-produced platform with global economies of scale that allow me to purchase it all for UNDER $10k. A low price-to-performance ratio, more than anything else, will sell bikes. Yamaha’s new FZ09 is on the right track, but they skimped on the performance and power level, IMO.

    My 2 cents.

    • Guylr says:

      Your target price is low by about $5K for the bike you descrbe and just how large a market do you think there is for 175 crank hp bikes?