– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

More from Intermot 2010: New Models from Ducati, Triumph, and KTM-and A Retro Kawasaki We Won’t See in the States

New-bike season is now in full swing with the opening of the Cologne INTERMOT show, one of the largest motorcycle consumer shows in Europe. The biggest story is a pair of new GSX-Rs (which are both coming to the USA, hooray!) from Suzuki that Dirck covered yesterday, but there’s also tantalizing news from Ducati, Triumph, Kawasaki and KTM.

Triumph Speed Triple

We showed you some glimpses of the new Speed Triple a few days ago; here’s what the whole bike looks like. As we reported, the frame is all new. It’s got a lighter and slimmer appearance, although the bike’s claimed wet weight has actually crept up to 481 pounds. Rake has also softened, to 22.8 degrees, and the wheelbase has increased by .4 inches to 56.5 inches. The bodywork is also new, as are the headlights — we imagine Speed Triple fans will bemoan the loss of the round lamps, but I think the new ones look good with the optional flyscreen fitted. Without it, they look, um…different. The motor seems largely unchanged, although Triumph claims torque increases by seven percent, to 81 ft.-lbs. at 7500 rpm, along with a modest horsepower increase.

We know this will be a great bike to ride, but it may not be the hit Triumph hopes — these days, a bike had better have some ground-shaking new features to get people into showrooms. That may be the job of the yet-to-be-officially announced  Tiger 800. There is no word yet on USA pricing, but we’d expect to see the new Speed Triple in dealers in the next few months.

Ducati Superbikes

Just so Ducatisti wouldn’t feel left out of the party, Ducati announced the changes to its Superbike lineup. Most notable — aside from the 2011  848EVO, which we told you about in July — is the new 1198 SP. It’s replacing the 1198S and supplanting the 1198R, which is discontinued for 2011. So it’s basically last year’s S model with some race-kit goodies, like a Ducati Performance slipper clutch, aluminum fuel tank and an Öhlins TTX rear shock. Also new is a Ducati Performance quick shifter (called DQS) to smooth full-power shifting. The good news is you get the extras — probably a few thousand bucks worth — for $21,995, just $200 more than the 2010 1198S.

The 1198 keeps its $16,495 pricetag, but it also gets some added goodies. The DQS is standard, as are the Ducati Traction Control and the downloadable data analysis (DDA) feature usually just found on the 1198S. Is it a newly weakend Euro? Or are the folks in Borgo Panigale just in a charitable mood? Who knows? If you’ve been waiting to buy a Ducati superbike, this seems as good a time as any.

KTM Micro-Duke

Another one for the you-can’t-have-it file. Austrian company KTM announced a learner-friendly streetbike, the Duke 125. You may remember some cute 125 concept bikes from KTM at last year’s Milan EICMA show; this bike looks like it came from the same tree. With a trellis frame, top-notch suspension, and a liquid-cooled, four-valve, 125cc motor producing 15 hp, the little Duke should be just the thing to train young hooligans. We probably won’t see this bike in the USA, but stranger things have happened…

Kawasaki W800

So what else won’t we get? This swanky new take on a retro classic, the Kawasaki W800. It’s basically a bored-out  W650 — available in the USA for just a few years and now a collectible cult classic — which was itself a remake of Kawasaki’s venerable W1 from the late 1960’s, that company’s first big four-stroke motorcycle. The W1 was an improvement on the Maguro K model, which was a license-built BSA design. To quote Woody Allen, it all becomes clear when we realize George Eliot was a woman.

Anyway, the W800’s circuitous history doesn’t take away from its interesting and stylish design. It’s nicely finished and dripping with cool touches like the bevel-drive four-valve head, spoked aluminum wheels, Smiths-ish instruments and gaiter-equipped front fork. A 31-inch seat and 480-pound curb weight should keep it manageable and fun to ride.

So we won’t get it for 2011, but there’s hope; Kawasaki responds to letter-writing campaigns and public demand, so drop Team Green an email or a postcard and let them know if they build it, you may buy.


  1. George says:

    Almost every ‘cycle magazine you read these days has one or more editorials bemoaning the fact that most current bikes lack features such as comfortable handlebars, natural seating positions, center stands, and easily accessible mechanical components. For lots of folks useful features like these count for much more than tire-melting acceleration, anti-social “bad-boy” looks, and unrealistic top-end capabilities. The old “Brit-bikes” of the fifties and sixties, though deficient in many important respects, still displayed elements of real-world practicality and “user friendliness” that are hard to find in most current motorcycle offerings. The new Kawasaki W800, like the previous W650 and the new Triumph Bonneville, brings back many of those earlier practical features which enhance the enjoyment of motorcycling, while still managing to both look fantastic and sound great! Hopefully Kawasaki will be persuaded to bring this one over to the States for us folks with a more mature concept of what real ‘cycling is all about.

  2. strogateta says:

    On the picture above of the white 2011 Triumph Speed Triple, everybody please use your right-hand thumb to cover the headlights and take a GOOD LONG LOOK at the bike without them. It is simply the wildest naked 1000 at the moment IMO, looking rougher and meaner even then the DUC Streetfighter (the headlights, though, are the ugliest thing ever happened in motorcycle styling. EVER. Period).

    And no, I am not a Triumph dealer. Just a motorcycle design “enthusiast”.

  3. Ed says:

    I like round headlights and I’m really kinda bummed everybody seems to be going toward pointy plasticky robotech looking things.Triumph has finally succeeded in ruining the Speed Triple.And would it have killed Suzuki to put a simple round headlight on that 750?

  4. Tommy See says:

    I Love all the retro Bikes coming back.

    Please Norton a 2012 500 single Manx !

  5. Mike says:

    Kawasaki. Please bring on the W800. Would look great sitting next to my BSA 500 Royal Star.

  6. Mike says:

    Triumph is usually great with their designs but this new Speed Triple is NOT !

  7. Trpldog says:

    I’m glad I have the “Bug-Eyed” Speedy. Did Triumph get a great deal on extra robot parts for the lights?
    YUCK. I’ll shop somewhere else next time around for something I won’t have to talk myself into liking.

  8. smokey says:

    I like the Speed Triple but those new headlights are butt-ugly! If I had the money, I might be in the market for a W800. My ’99 1500 Drifter (another orphan Kawasaki model) is getting too big and heavy for me in my old age. A good handling bike in the 450# range might be just the ticket. It should also be a lot easier on gas. My racing days are through, I just want to cruise around and enjoy our great country. Did I mention that purchase price and insurance costs will be much lower than for the big sport bikes, touring bikes, and large cruisers? We need practical 50mpg $8k motorcycles. Bring it on, Kawasaki!

  9. Vince says:

    Why do people keep saying the “W” is an imitation Bonneville? It’s lineage was posted below the picture.

    And for those that missed it under the picture here it is again –
    ” It’s basically a bored-out W650 — available in the USA for just a few years and now a collectible cult classic — which was itself a remake of Kawasaki’s venerable W1 from the late 1960’s, that company’s first big four-stroke motorcycle. The W1 was an improvement on the Maguro K model, which was a license-built BSA design.”

    So if you want to call it an imitator it imatated and improved a BSA design and guess what BSA is long gone!!!

    May as well call it a Ducati imitator too because Ducati ran a bevel drive valve train too.

  10. Cranky Bob says:

    Everybody clamoring for small bikes and retros but nobody buying them. That’s the only reason why they don’t offer these bikes in America. It’s true that there may be exceptions and a model might sell well over here against their predictions, but that doesn’t offset the fact that they’re usually right when it comes to marketing. If they thought they could make money here they would definitely offers these bikes. So it’s nothing personal, just business.

    • todd says:

      Like I’ve said before, it’s hard to prove them wrong and buy the bikes when they never import them.

  11. robert says:

    The W650 is a great bike! It looks too cool for words and is fun to ride. The W800 has the “look” too! The added power with the bigger motor means more fun. Despite the fact that the new W800 loses the kickstarter, I like it. I hope Kawasaki changes it’s mind and decides to import it to the USA–I’d buy it!

  12. zeus xarras says:

    I don’t understand why there don’t bring the w800 over????? give the bike a chance!!!!!

  13. todd says:

    Not much clamor for the mini Duke, eh? I’d love to have one in the US for “my wife” if it wasn’t for the likely $7,000 price tag. Looks like I’ll just pick up a perfect condition ’70’s CB125 for a few hundred bucks.


    • Bob in Monterey says:

      I’m with Todd on several of his points. With no other information it’s hard to know how KTM does their market analyses. In fact, it’s hard to know whether they did any analysis. They certainly didn’t ask us. There’s another factor involved in selling in other markets. There are generally regulations limiting the size of bikes that new riders are permitted to ride, something we need here. This makes for a ready population that requires no market analysis whatsoever.
      Dirt bikes are marketed here. Dirt bikes sell well here. Street bikes are not marketed here. Street bikes don’t sell well. If available, I’d buy the mini-Duke in a heartbeat. I already own a Duke III and it’s real kick. The mini would be a great addition for my wife, who is very small. Ulthimately, I sure wish they’d give this little one a try.

  14. GP says:

    The Speed Triple must be bad ass, but I would still like to see a 400cc version, with the same engine configuration. I hope the US is finally starting to gravitate back to smaller displacement machines! I have had enough with the 1500’s, 1800’s, and 2000cc’s+ stuff. Small bikes are where it’s at!

  15. GP says:

    The Micro-Duke would be great – with a 250cc two stroke engine. That 125 4 stroke just will not have enough power to wheelie and slide (at any speed over 5 mph). And if it can’t wheelie or slide, what good is it?
    The W-850 would be great – if it didn’t come in at $8,000.
    I like them both, but current ecological and economical constraints have all ready ruined them, before they ever even got here.

  16. mdhill says:

    Speed triple is great except for the headlight. A little ugly but not a deal breaker
    to me.

  17. gregg says:

    Love the mini Duke. It is indian made, so it should be affordable. Remember the YSR 50? How much more fun would somethig like this be with a few buds. Make it affordable like a scooter but it looks like a real bike so more would ride it. Take us back to more usefull too, ride it to work during the week and not be ashamed to be seen then go tear it up on the weekend!

  18. Tim says:

    On the S3:

    “…we imagine Speed Triple fans will bemoan the loss of the round lamps, but I think the new ones look good with the optional flyscreen fitted.”

    Agreed. I think the new design, (especially w/ the screen), looks great and people will warm up to it. I’m not sure what those little plastic covers under the tank, (with the “SPEED TRIPLE 1050” graphic), are supposed to be hiding but I imagine them to be easily removable. Otherwise, it’s a handsome bike. Much better looking than others in its class – especially the unfaired Z1000, (although the new, faired, Ninja 1000 is intriguing).

  19. Jay Mack says:

    I never have understood why the Speed Triple wants two headlamps. They look stupoid and add weight and cost. Why not just one?

  20. tepi says:

    “Is it a newly weakend Euro?”

    The opposite has actually happened…

    • Gabe says:

      True, the Euro has rebounded since its low spot but it’s still way below its high point against the dollar. We’ll see if that lasts.

  21. Cajun58 says:

    The Speed Triples’ lights are clearly a nod to the Disney Pixar animated classic WALL-E.

  22. I agree with Tim. The W800’s looks more British than the current Bonneville. The W800 doesn’t have the Bonnie’s “fat” motor; the W800 does not have an ugly flange (or seam) on the petrol tank; the W800’s exhaust pipes do not have a weird looking “kink”; and finally the W800 (since it is a bored out W650) is physically more compact than the Bonnie. My only whinge is the bevel drive and the tubed tyres but that will not prevent my adding the W800 (if it comes to Australia)to my shopping list as I just sold my SV1000. The other bikes on my shopping list are either the 883 Iron; 1200 Nightster or the V7 Classic from Moto Guzzi. All naked with air coolled motors and genuine retro aesthetics.

  23. jimbo says:

    Is it not particularly ironic, strange, weird, that the Japanese W800 has more apparent flavor, especially the motor, of the original British genre than the modern UK designed and built bikes? The W looks simpler, cleaner, more attractive. What it not look particular outstanding if not irresistible in a two-tone red and cream variant?

  24. Tom barber says:

    I don’t want to use the word “ugly”. But the Speed Triple reminded me of something. In the back of my mind, I had a vague recollection of some robot character from some movie. I vaguely remembered a movie called “Short Circuit”. I went to my favorite movie site and found some pictures of “Number Five”, a.k.a. “Johnny Five”. Yep, that’s it. Johnny Five.

    • jimbo says:

      It is impossible for me to imagine a positive reaction to Speed Triple “styling”. It “speeded” quickly to the top of my “absolutely no interest in this vehicle” list. Distinctive is one thing, this is another.

  25. sliphorn says:

    If you want to let Kawasaki know that you’d like to see the W800 in the USA here’s the contact info:

    I’ve let ’em know.

  26. Artem says:

    W800. Looks like it going to be a collectors bike. Do not think it would be a mass
    production, so, to catch it would be good. I assume it would be affordable enough.
    I would like to own that thing. We do not have Triumph dealers in our country at all,
    while Kawasaki sells the whole range (probably without some of cruisers, but I don’t checked
    that segment particulary).

  27. Drew Kazee says:

    I’d buy the Micro-Duke in a heartbeat.

  28. Josh B. says:

    Sooooo… Does the fact that they said the new Speed Triple was lighter by 3 kg, yet is 1 kg HEAVIER wet, mean that the tank has a higher capacity, more oil is needed, more coolant, or what? I don’t understand how else you can explain the discrepancy.

    I WAS thinking about selling my ’06 Graphite 675 and getting one of them, but it’s ugly and STILL heavy (HEAVIER even). Here’s to hoping the 800 Street is good, because I may end up getting one of those suckers. As much as I love my 675, I just would like to be able to ride more than a tankful of gas before I want to die, LOL!

  29. skytzo says:

    “So we won’t get it for 2011, but there’s hope; Kawasaki responds to letter-writing campaigns and public demand, so drop Team Green an email or a postcard and let them know if they build it, you may buy.”

    That’s a freakin’ joke. If this was true, they would’ve imported the Japan only ZRX DAEG over here already.

  30. Hoshiko says:

    I don’t understand how is posible that we are not getting the W800, we dont get any “small bike” with ABS, heated grips or something to make it a NYC year round friendly bike. You will have to buy a $13,000 F800ST or if you like retro a suzuki TU250 which is beautifull but no dealer have one in NY. Or an overpriced, 25490 pounds, Harley with 1950’s technology.
    Honda, please bring the VTR250 or the NX4 Falcon, make the great rebel 250 fueled inyected. Yamaha, please bring the Fazer 250. Kawee, please put fuel inyection on your ninja 250.
    Basically come to 2010 standars.

    • Brett says:

      People clamor for such bikes on forums like this all the time.

      Consumers vote with their dollars – and Americans do NOT buy enough of these bikes to justify their homologatin and import.

  31. Vrooom says:

    Got to agree with your analysis on the new ST headlights, they look pretty good with the fairing, out of place without it. That Kawa is gorgeous, hard to believe they wouldn’t sell truck loads of them if they imported it. The old W650 was really cool but a bit underpowered for what it was, I’m guessing the extra 150cc would cure that.

  32. Reck wee says:

    I want one!!!

  33. mark says:

    No kickstarter on the W800 because there’s some regulation that bikes over 650cc aren’t allowed to have one.

    For those of you upset that the W800 isn’t coming to the US, why not just visit your local Triumph dealer and buy a Bonneville instead?

    • sliphorn says:

      Nothing against the Bonneville, I just like the “W” more.

    • Tim says:

      If the Bonneville didn’t have that ugly “fat” motor, it would be a very appealing bike. I like Triumphs…I have one, (and also two Kawasakis). The difference is Kawasaki got the look of the motor right with the W800. Triumph didn’t with the Bonneville.

  34. Dave says:

    New Speed Triple looks much better than the older one, but not as hooligan. Why more weight though??

    Me, I’m waiting for the 800….

  35. navek smethurst says:

    For those who don’t like the new Speed Triple they can always go to their local Triumph dealer and pick up a deeply discounted old model! Personally I prefer the looks of the new version and could never get my head around the too quirky “bug eyes” of its predecessor,

  36. MGNorge says:

    “Bummed that the W800 is not going to make it to the USA, very nicely done.. I was planning on buying since I heard the rumor but guess now I’ll have to head over to Harley and pick up a sportster..”

    Say it ain’t so! No need to rush off to make rash decisions now!

  37. Manuel says:

    Man, Kawa should definitely sell that W800 in the States ,I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

  38. Tim says:

    I love the retro Kawasaki. That motor is beautiful. This is how a retro bike should look. It’s definitely time for a letter writing campaign.

  39. B Williams says:

    I really like the looks of the Kawasaki W800! If it comes to the USA I will buy one….even without a kickstarter.

  40. jerrylee says:

    I agree with Dirck that the new speed triple isn’t enough of a change to get “us” into the dealerships, or at least not this owner of a “tragically ugly” 06 Speed Trip. The new bike isn’t bad but has more of a “naked on purpose” look about it (i.e. Brutale)than the “I crashed it and can’t aford to rebuiild it” look of previous versions. “Wrong looking with attitude” makes the original concept cool! Regardless, Triumph is building some great performing bikes and I wish them well with the new version. They rarely miss the mark and I must assume economic concerns have them slow-rolling an all new bigger engined, lighter weight, more sophisticated Speed Trip.

    The new naked japanese bikes are cool but I’m not seeing anything from Intermot yet to get me into the buying mode with the exception of maybe the new Triumph 800 Adventure or a Moto Guzzi Norge with 8V heads if it comes to the US.

  41. Tok says:

    The Speed Triple headlights look demented. The exhaust heat shielding looks cheap. I REALLY like Triumphs but I sincerely hope that this is not a sign of more to come. When Triumph finally bring out a new large bore engine, if it looks like this I will not be trading up.

  42. clasqm says:

    W800: What happened to the kickstarter?!

  43. Joey Wilson says:

    I’ll repeat what I said elsewhere: Why don’t the Japanese (and their stateside offices) GET IT that we would be just as crazy for these retro bikes (the W800, the CB1100 Honda, the ZRX?DAEG, and others) as the Japanese are at home ? ? ?

  44. jimbo says:

    I never grew fond of the earlier Speed Triples. My first glance of this new one I thought it’s really, truly, horrifically ugly. Then a few minutes later I thought well maybe it’s not that bad. After a few hours my first impression feels very right. Tragically ugly.

  45. Robert says:

    The speed triple still looks bug eyed. like a Praying Mantis. big improvement in my opinion! I’d like to own that. 81 ft lbs torque heck yeah

  46. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I get the styling update of the speed triple (80’s early 90s sportbikes had round lenses, therefore the naked versions do as well. This is updates the look for the more common cat-eyes we see in modern sportbikes), but it doesn’t mean I like it. Round lights will be a nice mod option for third parties to supply…

  47. jimbo says:

    Speed Triple: just too odd a mix of 60s-70s Spondon and modern. I might prefer the GSR750. In fact, of all the latest street bikes announced th GSR750 (not overly fond of the name) may be at the top of my street bike wish list. I’m kind of allergic to inline 4-cylinder buzz, and presume the smaller 750cc would be smoother than something like the larger Kawi Z1000.

  48. mr281 says:

    Bummed that the W800 is not going to make it to the USA, very nicely done.. I was planning on buying since I heard the rumor but guess now I’ll have to head over to Harley and pick up a sportster..

    • Brett says:

      I don’t understand? Why would you go to a Sporty, when the descendant the imitation W800 is based on is readily available and proven to be an exceptionally good bike?

      • sliphorn says:

        The W800 is not based on a Triumph. Imitation? Really? How about the fact that it’s a great bike, at least I assume it will be because the W650 was a great bike too. Besides, Triumph dealers are far and few in between.

        • Brett says:

          Plenty of bikes are imitations and fantastic machines.

          Doesn’t change the fact that they’re imitations.

          As for Triumph dealers – I’ve got two within 45 minutes of me, so I suppose I’m spoiled. Not like you take a Bonnie on a long distance anyway.

  49. Tom says:

    The purists may not like it but I love the look of the new Speed Triple!

  50. michael says:

    I think the KTM Micro-Duke would be a great in-town and tight-twisty road bike!

    Maybe if gas prices go up, more small bikes might be imported Stateside. Then again, people seem to buy scooters when that happens. (And in most cases, not ride them much.)

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