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SWM and the Simple Single: More Thoughts

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We have spent years watching manufacturer after manufacturer invest huge amounts of money into the development of American-style cruisers. Purposely eschewing state-of-the-art technology for air-cooled, pushrod designs. After all, this is what cruiser customers wanted. Low tech.

What about motorcyclists who don’t care about cruiser styling, but still want simple, basic designs? Maybe they form a significant market, as well, particularly lately. I’m talking about motorcyclists who like simple, lightweight motorcycles that are not trying to be something other than a functional transportation device. Sure, styling is important for these customers, as well, but maybe it is a sense of style that derives from the older motorcycles that were designed, first and foremost, to be functional and comfortable.

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We recently posted a story about SWM (Speedy Working Motorcycles), including its line-up of air-cooled singles (one of which is pictured in this article, known as the Gran Turismo 440). The bike pictured weighs a claimed 330 pounds without fuel. The design is extremely simple, and although most of SWM’s models feature liquid-cooled Husqvarna engines (engines used by Husky before KTM’s owner acquired the brand), these air-cooled engines have the same bore and stroke as a “big bore kitted” Honda XR 400 engine (an “XR 440” if you will). If a reader knows exactly where these particular SWM engines are sourced, chime in below.

I suppose we could call this category of motorcycle “Regular Rides”. Let us know what you think. Could there be a groundswell of demand for Regular Rides as opposed to cruisers? Perhaps, Yamaha recognizes such a thing with its SR400, re-introduced to the U.S. market for 2015. Is there room for more Regular Rides (seemingly requiring far fewer development dollars from manufacturers than heavyweight v-twin cruisers)?

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82 Comments

  1. John says:

    The only real purposes for a single are in purely in the city, or purely in the dirt. A 440 trail bike would work for me because I live in town (that has a lot of dirt roads too), but could put it on my truck and head out to the dirt.

    For riding on the highway, I won’t do it without a twin as a minimum. But I’d buy any motorcycle before buying any scooter.

  2. zuki says:

    I like it a lot. Especially the scrambler version. The Yamaha SR400 is a good looker but it doesn’t really excite me aesthetically like this SWM Gran Turismo and the scrambler version, Silver Vase. I would buy the Silver Vase in a heart beat if they were available here and the price was reasonable, acknowledging that there is a price to pay for exclusivity and a small market. I’d hesitate if it were as expensive as the SR400… which is way overpriced but I’d still likely buy one. I’d never buy a comparably equivalent cruiser, even if it were half as much.

    • John says:

      The SR400 is the ugliest and most bargain basement $3000 motorcycle on the market, for only $6000.

      • zuki says:

        Haha! It seems these SWMs may very well be Chinese-built so they too shouldn’t be more than $3000. 😀 I assume the SR400 is built in Japan so at the very least you’d have a quality-built machine with the Yamaha.

  3. william says:

    It seems like this type of old style bike might appeal to old people. Maybe those who had such a bike when they started riding or something. At 45 years old I guess I am not old enough for this to appeal to me. Simple is good in a lot of ways, but this thing has no appeal to me. I am liking the smaller displacement and lower cost bike trend, well only if they have upright seating. However, this old style I have never liked. I am interested in the adventure bike under 650cc. Also I hate chrome, it reflects the sun in my eyes which is not good when riding a motorcycle. I prefer non reflecting surfaces. So the whole concept of this bike does not fit me at all.

  4. Adventure Seeker says:

    I had a Honda 440cc when cars and highways were slower. It’s OK for in town commutes but that is all.

  5. hasty says:

    last small bike I had was an 84 Honda Ascot 500, so easy… probably can’t go back after years on superbikes but I miss it…maybe I will look for one..

  6. Scotty says:

    I had an SRX600 for 5 years and a SZR660 for 3 and did quite a few miles on them, so this looks like it would be a nice enough bike though maybe not quite as capable as either. In 1996 when I got the SRX I set off a week after I got the bike on a 2400km trip over a week – nice trip, my first solo tour.

    I think there is a nice simple bike made right now that combines decent performance, reasonable weight, and classic looks. Moto Guzzi V7 Stone.

    • Roberto says:

      I have to agree…I’m a huge fan of the Stone for its simplicity. Have ridden one many times and it has ample power and is effortless to ride compared to my Tiger 1050. My son is considering the V7 Guzzi as his first street bike. The new Ducati Scrambler may fit nicely in that class too.

      • Scotty says:

        I have had a Guzzi 750 for 10 years Roberto and all I would ever replace it with is another750 uzzi. They definately get into your blood.

        • Adventure Seeker says:

          Last weekend I was riding on PCH and heard a V7 climbing a grade. The V7 sounds like two trash can lids.

        • Roberto says:

          I agree Scotty, there’s something visceral about the Guzzi engine, it has a ton of character.

  7. Charlie says:

    Comparing photos of this and the Shineray XY400 makes me think there is little actually made in Italy (except for the ugly tank). Frame, brakes, suspension, instruments and engine all look the same. Judge for yourself:

    http://tinyurl.com/Shineray-XY400

    The Shineray looks much better… 🙁

    • zuki says:

      Interesting. I agree it appears to be the same. Thanks for sharing!

    • OTTO AU says:

      That would be because is part owned by the Chinese, its even on the official website, refer:

      SWM Motorcycles is a new motorcycle Company inspired by the past, originated from the passion and the technical and industrial competence of Ampelio Macchi and Daxing Gong. Ampelio Macchi, creator of the history of prestigious Italian brands as Cagiva, Husqvarna and Aprilia where he was the technical manager and obtained 51 World titles, 46 with Husqvarna and 5 with Aprilia; Daxing Gong, successful Chinese businessman leader of the majestic Shineray Group that operates in two wheels and four wheels vehicles, industrial products for agriculture and electricity generators.

  8. saki says:

    I hate to rant about this but engines utilizing pushrods are low tech? Yeah I suppose most cruiser engines aren’t really state-of-the-art, and neither are they designed with light weight in mind like sportbike engines are, but they shouldn’t ALL be deemed technologically equivalent to motorcycle engines of several decades past simply because of the type of valve train actuation utilized either.

    Overhead camshaft design is old technology dating back to 1903 (1912 for DOHC). A means to and end… overhead cams were first utilized for valve actuation mainly due to the lack of metallurgy technology. Back in the old days overhead camshafts were indeed high tech but things have changed since then. Rather than a measurement of how sophisticated or complex an engine design may be to overcome other technological shortcomings, most high-technology is in the metallurgy, casting, machining, electronics, fuel delivery along with perfected combustion chamber design, etc. (IMO).

    For example (I’m not relating cruiser engines), GM’s Generation III, IV and the latest, Gen V, small block V8s, are often called out as low tech by the misinformed, and it’s a very misguided opinion. Achieving the same goal of performance with less is smart engineering and exactly what state-of-the-art means. Compared to DOHC/4-valve V8 designs, only a fool would scoff that less weight, a smaller package in height and width, half as many valves, and far fewer parts overall without any performance drawback is low tech. GM’s Gen IV LS7 7.0 liter small block (which I’m very partial to) is an excellent example of a modern, light-weight, high-tech engine: http://gmauthority.com/blog/gm/gm-engines/ls7/

    GM’s Gen V small blocks utilize direct-injection and variable valve timing as well.

    Another thing that bugs me is the way pushrods are a singled-out part of the valvetrain as if the name itself implies some sort of archaic tool for actuation, almost like it’s a dirty word. Why aren’t the lever tappets or buckets referred to in OHC designs? Why the incongruence? I prefer the term CIB, or Cam-In-Block.

    Let the knee-jerk replies come forth! 🙂

    • Matt says:

      Amen!!

      I have made the same argument to my less “motorheaded” friends time and time again.

      Well put.

      Long live cam in block

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      There is certainly nothing wrong with pushrods if they meet the design goals of an engine. In fact they are great if you are aiming to keep the height of the head low and don’t intend to spin the engine too fast. They add a lot of mass to the valve system, though, so not the best for a high revving engine as employed in most motorcycles.

      I believe GM retains the pushrods mostly for marketing reasons in the say way Ducati sticks with Desmo or the 90° twim, though GM clearly make use of the low profile the engine provides.

      • zuki says:

        LS7 redline is 7100 rpm (much higher than GM’s defunct Northstar DOHC V8). Must be said that LS7 has a 4″ stroke 4.125″ bore too. Titanium intake valves and connecting rods help achieve the higher redline. Seems like I read somewhere that the pushrods are titanium too but I’m not sure. Legend is that marine Oldsmobile 394, 425, and 455 cubic inch V8s can be made to rev at 10,000 rpm+ all day out on the water, which are normally about 5500 rpm engines in stock form. The Oldsmobile 455 has a 4.25″ stroke. Can’t see why a small CIB motorcycle engine couldn’t be made to rev pretty high as well. Why design a CIB motorcycle enigne to replace supersport 600 mills? That design for that purpose works well. The trend is going to power delivery like the Yamaha’s FZ line. The Motus seems like a pretty cool bike. I think it revs pretty high. I’d like to see a smaller version… maybe a 2 cylinder version.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          “Legend is that marine Oldsmobile 394, 425, and 455 cubic inch V8s can be made to rev at 10,000 rpm+ all day out on the water”

          All due respect, but I think that is myth, not legend. 🙂 That would mean we are talking about mean piston speeds well beyond what Formula 1 engines do.

          I believe I read once that the Motus redlines at 8000 rpm. Four valves per cylinder and OHC’s are not such an issue with big engines that can make up the power with displacement rather rpm. The trend however – like the FZ’s you mentioned – seems to be making a broad range of power with small engines. OHC’s are lighter, more elegant and fundamentally better for that application than CIB.

          BTW, I am not disagreeing with your original rant. There is nothing low-tech about modern CIB designs. If you need to keep the height of the engine low or to keep costs low on a V engine, CIB is great for that (SOHC can be too). I just can’t see why it would be used for any other reason over OHC (besides marketing reasons), though, whether it is a low-revving engine or not.

          • zuki says:

            I agree with saki’s rant as well.

            You’re right, probably myth. An old Napa Oldsmobile guru would often mention that to his customers. 🙂 He was a fanatic

            I thought Motus was closer to 8500 redline. Idk.

            I also believe OHC still has its place as well. Like you said, what’s best for the application or design goals.

    • Norm G. says:

      many ways to skin a cat.

  9. DCE says:

    I am all for “regular rides”. IMO there are 2 things needed to blast this market wide open: on-the-bike ergonomic adjustability (not aftermarket replacement parts) so all riders from the 98% can ride with out issue (e.g., seat height/handlebars for persons from, say, 5′ 3″ to 6′ 4″ – just like automobiles and light trucks) and suspension components that will handle total carried weight from 120# to 350# without modification (again, like automobiles and light trucks); the second thing is a true automatic, high-performance, high-efficiency, multi-speed (not CVT) transmission regardless of engine displacement (probably upwards of 90% of 4-wheeled vehicles have this and it is a huge barrier of entry for new cycle riders).

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “there are 2 things needed to blast this market wide open”

      re: “the second thing is a true automatic, high-performance, high-efficiency, multi-speed (not CVT) transmission regardless of engine displacement”

      boom goes the dynamite…!

      http://powersports.honda.com/2015/ctx700.aspx

      • DCE says:

        Yes, Honda’s DCT would fit the bill nicely – if it were available across the board (all models; all engines) AND all the other manufacturers got into it too.
        Still need the adjustable ergos and broader suspension coverage “out-of-the-box”.

  10. frank says:

    Very nice rendition of an old school standard with just the right amount of modern… (FI/push button start/front disc). No little plastic bits covering parts of the engine like on many other so called ‘naked’ bikes, is a stylistic plus.

  11. Norm G. says:

    re: “After all, this is what cruiser customers wanted. Low tech…”

    …and willing to PAY for it.

    oops you forgot to finish your thought there, no worries.

    re: “What about motorcyclists who don’t care about cruiser styling, but still want simple, basic designs…”

    …and free lunch.

    again, these little elements are critical to understanding the BIG picture. when left out, we “short circuit” any chances of having productive conversation.

    re: “Maybe they form a significant market, as well, particularly lately.”

    no “maybe” about it, free lunch seekers are EVERYWHERE. they practically define bike world here in the 21st century (way to go Wal-Mart). can’t throw a rock without hitting one these individuals can we…?

  12. Bob L. says:

    Yamaha SRX’ish with a hint of Penton/Maico tank.

  13. Ronbob says:

    51 years of riding and owning dozens of bikes and I am down to singles and twins. I have fun riding my wife’s TU 250 Suzuki and want Honda’s CB 300F, but I want to get a ride on KTM’s 390, and am waiting to see what EBR and Hero will bring stateside before I decide.

  14. oldjohn1951 says:

    Nice bike. What’s really needed is a way to get teenagers back on motorcycles and enjoying them the way we did in the mid-1960s before states regulated drivers licenses for motorcycle operation. If I were 16 again, I would definitely want this one for school, part-time jobs, errands and joy-riding.

  15. Charlie says:

    I’ve read elsewhere that the 440 engine is made by Shineray.

    As others have posted, the gas tank is awkwardly shaped, needs to be more rounded. Otherwise they’ve done an excellent job.

    Overall, it reminds me quite a bit of my ’94 MZ Silver Star Classic 500. Very similar – 348 lbs. wet, 34 hp, single disc front, drum rear.

    My favorite SWM is the (extremely rare) XN Tornado. That bike went on to evolve into the Armstrong/Harley MT350/500.

  16. Fred says:

    I’ve owned in-line-fours (Honda CB500), a big simple twin (BMW R90/6), and lots of scooters. After riding for 40+ years (so far), I’ve gone in search of (relatively) simple, basic, and enjoyable. I ended up with a 250cc Honda Helix scooter. Lots of reliable fun up to about 70 mph, almost no routine maintenance (changing the oil takes about 2 minutes), 70 mpg – and it’s a Honda, so it starts every time. Not everybody’s cup of tea – but it works for me for now. At least until I get the 2015 ELIO I have reserved. I am hoping that my ELIO will be the last motorcycle (car?) I’ll ever have to buy in my life.

  17. Gary in NJ says:

    My first road bike was a new 1980 GN400. I was a college freshman and rode the wheels off that bike. I paid $1,100 for it and sold it a year later for $900, not a bad value. That bike was as simple as a stone; air cooled 400cc single with a primary kick starter. At the time I couldn’t wait to sell it for a more advanced bike, and now I wish I had it.

  18. Joe W says:

    I’ve ridden all types of motorcycles, from dirt bikes to cruisers to sport bikes. The dumbest thing I ever did was sell my 1981 Yamaha XS 400 Special. The only ‘upgrade’ I ever did was change the standard handlebars to lower, flatter bars. I could flick it like a sport bike, but it was as comfortable as a cruiser, 20 years and the only thing to ever go wrong was a blown fuse. I must have spent several thousand of dollars to replace the bike I bought used for $400 in 1987. I may have gotten bigger and faster, but the roads I ride on are still the same speed limit 65, and gas has gone up while my milage has gone down. LONG LIVE THE ‘REGULAR’ MOTORCYCLE!

  19. Mugwump says:

    What’s missing here for me, and well on any bike, is the ability to upgrade suspension with some flat out tasty bits. I mean completely adjustable, high speed, load speed, the works. I understand the impossible economics of this scenario but hey it’s the interweb so I don’t have to be grounded in reality.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      That option is available for just about any bike. Call Racetech, Traxxion or any good suspension shop, open your wallet, and voila!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “open your wallet, and voila!”

        CRAZY TALK…!!!

        • mugwump58 says:

          I would have to say in my experience that is only true for “some” bikes. For many you’re not going to find anything past emulators, drilling damping rods and other half step measures. I get it, without a market things just aren’t always feasible. Even with the companies you’ve liste.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Just open your wallet further. 🙂

            They may have pre-designed items only for specific bikes, but most of these guys are fabricators. It really depends on YOUR definition of feasible.

  20. Kevin says:

    Want to look at a simple but sporty design? It’s a bike that was on my list of wants back in the mid 1990’s when I was stationed in Japan. Look no further than a Suzuki Goose 350! I wish Suzuki would bring that model back but with a 450 thumper fully adjustable suspension and top shelf brakes. Go ahead and GOOGLE it!

  21. Looks like a bike straight from the 70″s. Compete with any of the great 300’s from Hon, Kaw, or now, Yam? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Gronde says:

      Probably not even as reliable as the bikes from the seventies. I’d stick to the 300’s from the Japanese for speed, handling and reliability.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Except none of them make a bike quite like that one save for Yamaha with its SR400 which is pretty pricey and doesn’t look as good in my opinion.

        • Ralph says:

          I like the looks of the SR400, and it gives me flashbacks to the SR500 I owned, but $6k? For a time capsule bike?

          At $4k I’d buy one…….

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “$6k? For a time capsule bike?”

            people will gladly bid near $100 grand for a 1970 Chevelle SS 454…

            a “time capsule” car.

            considering they’re both gear head “enthusiasts” on a basic level, what I’d like to know is how and where on the evolutionary timeline did the two mentalities diverge/split off into different directions (fork in the road), essentially ending up POLAR opposites of the other…?

            ie. one VALUING (the car guy), the other DEVALUING (bike guys)…?

  22. Alex says:

    I love it. I’d have given a testicle to have this when I was a kid. My first bike at 16 was a shitty 1980 CX500 that had taken a beating, but still ran for another 5 years until I sold it. This is much better looking even if it’s performance won’t be anything to write home about.

    • Martin B says:

      I DID give a testicle when I was 25 (VERY bad timing). Insurance eventually made a pay out. I tried out a BMW RT80, but ended up buying a Peugeot 505. My biggest ever regret is selling that car. Rolls Royce ride, fantastic handling and stability, extreme economy (it ran on CNG gas for peanuts) and beautiful (to me).

      Giving up body parts for vehicles is a bit of a losing scenario. Lots of pain involved, as well as giving up a sicial life…

      NB – I had a CX500 and loved it, but it didn’t like being dropped at 100 mph (not me) then ignored in a shed for several years.

  23. Andrew says:

    I would be very interested in this sort of thing – always have been… Simple, modest bike with classic styling and modern reliability is exactly what i want. But, and that’s a big ‘but’, subject to price! If they price it as ‘exotic Italian’, forget it. But if they manage to keep it sensible – count me in!

  24. Provologna says:

    Do you remember not too many years ago reading about this story? In Great Britain, guys would buy one of the Korean bikes. Then they needed parts, which were not available. Guys tired of making payments on the bike while staring at it broken and unable to ride it collecting dust in the garage.

    They’d find a cliff and push the bike off, then make insurance claim. I think the insurance cos stopped writing policies on them.

    I thought of that reading about this bike.

  25. Jdilpkle says:

    The gas tank almost brought up my dinner. The ugly logo doesnt help it any. I do like the rest of it.

  26. Tom H says:

    Too many motorcycles to choose from too many different manufacturers for this to sell well in the U.s. When you get into small displacement you have scooters, repli racers, nakeds, dirt bikes and super moto.

    Most of us that are older do not have a need for this type of bike. I am not sure there are enough younger people that this will attract. At 56 my choice even if this were super cheap would be a used super moto at a similar price.

    So my opinion is that there is not enough market. I could be proven wrong.

  27. Ed says:

    Problem is modern American freeway speeds will kill singles in short order. I’ve owned a few and unless you live in the town you work and can get to work and back on surface streets traveling at 80 per will fry these things in about 20,000 mi.I have owned XLs,XRs KLRs and an XT and without fail they were all toast by about 20K. I think the KLR almost made it to 25 but when it broke it would have cost more than it would ever be worth to rebuild it.

    • red says:

      Ed my experience says different. I have personally owned and known first hand a number of thumpers that went > 20k, some x2 or x3 without a major issue much less becoming “toast”. In fact I’m struggling to think of one low mileage wear-failure in the past 20 years. Have a DR650 right now with 25k that’s done many highway miles, loaded down at highway speeds. Running strong as ever. I expect it to easily hit 50k. So far has never lost a drop of oil, can’t say that for my one beemer at similar mileage.

      • Martin B says:

        I have a Suzuki Freewind (DR650 based Adventure bike) that’s done 60k miles and still runs fine. It loved the highway (but NZ limit is 60mph, though everyone ignores it out of sight of the cops). I love the ride from long travel suspension and the agility of the single motor. Long distance no problem.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I had an XR600, and the XR engines need a top-end at 20K – 30K. That was pretty universally accepted by owners. There are plenty of other singles that are built for longevity like the BMW/Rotax 650 singles – I know of some examples that have well over 100K miles without ever being opened up. I also know several people that have over 50K miles on DR650s.

      I can imagine life would be abbreviated for a particular engine that runs near redline at freeway speeds for most of its mileage, but that would be true regardless of the number of cylinders.

  28. Hot Dog says:

    Single cylinder and twin exhaust pipes?

    • GKS says:

      2 exhaust valves into 2 exhaust ports into 2 exhaust pipes
      Actually the twin pipes provide more muffler volume which is more efficient. This can equate to more power from less restriction while keeping the sound level down. It has been done before, particularly on Husqvarna (Italian) big dual sport bikes. Current Honda 250 and 450 motocross bikes use a single exhaust pipe but split the flow into 2 mufflers.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Makes it go twice as fast.

  29. Tom says:

    I’m all for regular rides. I have a “regular ride” right now in the form of a single cylinder dual sport.

  30. Rokster says:

    Super cool, not another boring cafe racer, just a simple, proper bike. But yeah, 7k is not gonna do it because Yamaha FZ07 and even FZ09. Too bad.

  31. Brian says:

    Any word on how well (or not) SR’s are selling? The first go ’round was NOT good (’78-81) and that was a 500 with rear disc brakes for the first couple years. Personally I’d like to see Honda resurrect a couple models, updated with fuel injection and little else. A GB500 and Hawk GT, maybe even a CB1, would put a dash of retro soul into a line-up which, outside of the std model CB1100 does little for me…and Yamaha, a new XS650 would have been a better idea, maybe even an SRX600…

    • Brian says:

      er rather “rear disc brake”…the thing didn’t go fast enough to need double discs, especially on the rear,,,

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’d be interested to know that as well. Seems overpriced for what it is in my opinion. I know I haven’t seen one on the road yet.

      • stinkywheels says:

        I’m guessing it’s gonna die a quick death. How Yamaha can get those wonderful FZs on the floor for that price, then the kickstartSR for not enough less. As someone above mentioned, it can be upgraded to work great but you would be above an FZs price. Maybe Yamaha can be a source for motors. All the old ones are in race frames and looks like the SWM.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Any word on how well (or not) SR’s are selling?”

      my local franchisee still has theirs (just saw it last week), been there a few months now but in the grand scheme I’ve seen kit there longer.

      example… (Jules Winnfield voice)

      well not only do they have an SR, but they’re still sitting on their MKI CB1100. you know, the one Honda (as a goof) thunk it a good idea to fit with a 5spd trans and contrast engine/wheels…? only to later sort a 6spd, and fit the basic silver engine and wheels that first went to Europe. yeah, that one.

  32. loggerjack says:

    I like everything I see on this motorcycle, even the gas tank. It all looks like it fits, nothing high tech so the price should be quite low, say around 4000.00. Do that and they will sell thousands of them.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “It all looks like it fits, nothing high tech so the price should be quite low”

      ok, but why low…? I’d say the labour costs of putting the front and rear wheels on this is the same as a Bonnie…? same as the magnesiums on an R1…?

      re: “Do that and they will sell thousands of them.”

      2 of them.

    • joe b says:

      it looks like the price will be $7k. would you buy one still?

  33. joe b says:

    you can get a lot of motorcycle for the seven grand they will be asking, in the used bike market. Seven, thousand, Dollars. for a funky looking single?

    • mickey says:

      You could get a brand new Royal Enfield and have some jingle in your pocket for petrol

    • Oilhead says:

      Over pricing killed MZ when they tried to resurrect the brand in the 90’s with the Skorpion and Baghira. Most shoppers (except HD buyers) price compare without even knowing the true virtues of the brand. Sometimes dealership attitude is not enough to convince shoppers that they have a superior product.

  34. skybullet says:

    Another bike that has a lot going for it but… the brand and odd ball tank will keep a lot of potential buyers from even trying it. Simple and light has MANY virtues, too bad the odds are against it being a sales success.

  35. James S says:

    That’s actually the sort of motorcycle I dream of but never seems to get made. A lightweight single, about 650cc, with old school school styling, low maintenance, and a low price. The KTM Duke 690 gets points for being a lightweight single, but the high maintenance and high price kill it for me (I can live with the styling except for KTM’s typically horrendous graphics). The KLR650 is lower maintenance and price but is unforgivably ugly and I’m dreaming of more of a street machine rather than dual purpose. The SR400 is way too overpriced for what it is and it could use a little more modern technology. I’m agnostic on liquid cooling vs air, spokes vs “mags”, dual shocks vs single, carb vs fuel injection. Just make it inexpensive, cheap to operate, good looking, and relatively light and I will be happy.

    The SWM looks pretty good to me. Too bad we’ll probably never see one in the USA and if we did it would likely cost too much. But then again, I never would have believed that we are finally starting to see a lot of smaller motorcycles these days so maybe I am wrong.

  36. Richard says:

    I agree with you that there is a place in the market for a “regular ride”. Cleveland CycleWerks is attempting to meet such a need and just released the first photos of their new Misfit Gen II 500cc bike at the Kustomfest in Indonesia last month. Pics posted at: http://www.clevelandcyclewerks.com/blog/2014/10/11/misfit-generation-ii-introduction Engine looks similar to the SWM engine pictured above. I’m holding out for a Gen II 500cc Misfit. USA distributor expects them to be for sale in the US in late spring/early summer of 2015. Give me simple, classic styling, fuel efficient – and freeway capable.

  37. Randy says:

    Doesn’t look like a carburetor, so I guess its FI. That’s good. Yes the tank is ugly but I can live with the drum rear brake. I would consider one only if it’s priced less than the Honda and Kawasaki 300’s. Those bikes offer cutting edge qualities (for their size and price point) like speed, handling and brakes. So a crude single is not going to compete unless it’s priced less. Way less.

  38. SmokinRZ says:

    The last SWM I rode was a trials bike about 30 years ago. I’m pretty easy to please styling wise but that tank is just ugly. I’ll take the KTM.

  39. Montana says:

    What about an Indian Scout in “standard” livery?
    Love that the bike is American, love the styling & quality, hate the foot forward riding position.

    • Rokster says:

      Did you see there was a rumour of exactly what you are talking about? Let’s just hope and wait and make noise.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Let’s just hope and wait and make noise.”

        here’s an idea let’s NOT hope… let’s NOT wait…

        but instead have our “noise” be the sound of us performing NUMEROUS SMOKY BURNOUTS because we can’t get to our local ATM and withdraw money fast enough.