Last year, amid a global pandemic, BMW Motorrad introduced a motorcycle that is a very big deal for the company. With the introduction of the R 18, BMW entered the traditional cruiser segment, a distinctly American category that has long been dominated by Harley-Davidson.
Just as Harley-Davidson is known for V-Twins, BMW is known for horizontally opposed Twins called “boxers.” To compete in the world of heavyweight cruisers, there’s no replacement for displacement. BMW created what it calls the “Big Boxer” that displaces 1,802cc, or 110 cubic inches – much larger than the 1,254cc boxer in most of BMW’s R-series models like the R 1250 RT.
Soon after the standard R 18 came the R 18 Classic, which is equipped with a windshield and semi-soft saddlebags. For 2022, BMW has further expanded the lineup with two touring models, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental. Both are equipped with a fork-mounted fairing, a full infotainment system, hard saddlebags, and other amenities. The Transcontinental also has a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.
BMW invited Rider to ride both models at their U.S. press launch in Denver, Colorado. And after the one-day press ride, I spent four days riding an R 18 Transcontinental (TC) more than 1,500 miles through five states with my wife as a passenger and the luggage packed full of gear.
We’ll have an in-depth road test review soon. Here are our top 10 highlights of the new bikes.
1. They Rock better than they Roll
BMW’s “Big Boxer” makes a claimed 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque at the crank. When we put the R 18 on Jett Tuning’s dyno late last year, its shaft-driven rear wheel spun the heavy drum to the tune of 80 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 109 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 rpm, which is about what you’d expect after accounting for power loss through the drivetrain.
The R 18s have three ride modes – Rock, Roll, and Rain – that alter throttle response, idle character, engine-drag torque control, and traction control intervention. In Rock mode, the R 18s feel lumpy and shake a lot at idle, and their throttle response is direct. But in Roll and Rain mode the bikes feel dull and lifeless, like a middle-aged couple nodding off at an AC/DC concert.
2. Who doesn’t like big jugs?
Ahem. Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re talking about cylinders here. With 901cc jugs sticking out of both sides of the bike, there’s no getting around the size of those things. They are a distinctive styling element, with prominent cooling fins and chrome pushrod tubes.
Even on really hot days – when riding across northern Arizona and southern Nevada, Carrie and I dealt with temps ranging from the high 90s to 113 degrees – the cylinders don’t put out excessive heat felt by the rider and passenger, nor do the exhaust pipes. But they do trap the rider’s legs behind the cylinders, limiting options to stretch out during long stints in the saddle.
The cylinders are too wide for highway pegs, so BMW offers accessory chrome-plated leg rests so riders can stretch their stems with calves atop the cylinders, as shown in the photo above. The leg rests weren’t available on the press ride or our ride-away. I tried resting my jean-clad legs atop the cylinders, but that lasted about half a second because those big jugs get hot to the touch. The TC has highway bars in front of the cylinders and my legs are long enough that I was able to put my heels on them and mostly straighten out my knees.
3. Leave the riding to us
Thanks to the proliferation of throttle-by-wire, cruise control has become a common feature on all sorts of motorcycles, even sportbikes. It’s especially helpful on long, multi-day rides when even moderate tension in the rider’s arm while maintaining steady throttle can lead to sore wrists and achy shoulders.
On the R 18 B and Transcontinental, BMW takes things a step further with optional Active Cruise Control (ACC). Embedded in their front fairings are radar sensors that scan the lane in front of the bike when cruise control is activated. If a vehicle is detected in front of the bike, the system will automatically reduce speed to maintain a fixed distance (both speed and distance are adjustable). Using inputs from the lean-angle sensors, ACC will also adjust speed to assist with safer cornering.
ACC works really well, and it isn’t affected by vehicles in adjacent lanes. This is one of those features you don’t think you need or want until you use it.
4. My, what a big TFT you have!
Most premium motorcycles are equipped with TFT (thin film transistor) instrument displays that offer nearly infinite variation for graphics, color, animation, etc. BMW has offered TFTs on some of its models for several years, but none approach the size of the TFT embedded in the fairing on the R 18 B/TC. It measures 10.25 inches on the diagonal, which is at least a couple of inches more than the largest TFT we’ve seen on other bikes. The thing is like a billboard, and its default background is a copper-colored illustration of the Big Boxer.
Using BMW’s proprietary Multi-Controller wheel on the left grip, navigating through menus is a breeze and keeps the number of buttons to a minimum. But, unlike the Indian’s Ride Command system, the hardened, glare-resistant glass screen isn’t touch-enabled.
5. If it’s too loud, you’re too old
If you’ve seen amps on stages or stood next to huge stacks at a rock concert, then you’re familiar with the cursive script of the Marshall logo. In the movie “Spinal Tap,” there’s even a Marshall amp that goes to 11. BMW partnered with Marshall to create an audio system for the R 18 B and TC, and it rocks.
The standard setup has two 25-watt speakers embedded in the front fairing. The Premium Package on the R 18 B upgrades to the Marshall Gold Series Stage 1, which adds two 90-watt subwoofers in the lids of the top-loading saddlebags (eliminating half a liter of storage capacity) and brings total output up to 230 watts. The Premium-equipped R 18 TC gets the Marshall Gold Series Stage 2, which adds yet another pair of 25-watt speakers to the passenger backrest, for a total of 280 watts.
6. Get out of my way
To complement the classic lines of the R 18, the fork-mounted fairing has a streamliner shape that tapers at the sides, providing wind protection for the rider’s hands. There’s a single round headlight that uses LEDs for low and high beams, and there’s an optional Adaptive Turning Light that swivels +/- 35 degrees to illuminate the inside of curves during cornering.
The fairing parts the wind smoothly, though airflow over the R 18 B’s short windscreen hits the rider’s helmet while airflow over the R 18 TC’s tall windscreen goes over the rider’s head. During our multi-day ride, my wife said she enjoyed the calm pocket of air and never dealt with helmet buffeting like she has on some touring bikes.
Neither windscreen offers height adjustment, which is disappointing, especially on such premium machines. The top edge of the TC’s screen was right in my line of sight, which was distracting during back-and-forth cornering in the Rocky Mountains. While the tall screen provided welcome protection from cold wind when temps dropped into the 40s on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway (U.S. Route 550), I wished I could lower it when the mercury rose into triple digits several hours later in northern Arizona.
7. Galaxy Dust metallic would have made Prince jealous
Offering an iridescent paint scheme that changes from purple to blue depending on how the light hits it seems a little out there for BMW. And in the studio photos, it looks garish. But in person Galaxy Dust metallic it looks undeniably cool, and the color variations are more subtle than the photos suggest. The colors are darker, the metal flake really pops in bright sunlight, and the Titanium Silver 2 metallic on the gas tank and fairing adds nice contrast.
Such a unique, factory-custom paint job doesn’t come cheap. It will set you back $2,400.
If it were possible to make a sequel to “Purple Rain,” an R 18 B in Galaxy Dust metallic / Titanium Silver 2 metallic with a custom his-and-hers seat and sissy bar would be Prince’s motorcycle of choice.
8. Two peas in a pod
For long-haul touring motorcycles, rider and passenger comfort is critically important. Carrie and I rode more than 1,500 miles on the R 18 Transcontinental over four days, averaging nearly 400 miles per day. Except for the final day on I-15 through the Mojave Desert, we logged most of our miles on scenic roads full of hairpins, high-mountain passes, and steep grades.
As mentioned above, the cylinders of the Big Boxer limited my ability to move my legs around during long stints in the saddle. But the seat and riding position were comfortable, and the footboards allowed me to move my feet around to adjust the position of my hips and knees.
Carrie’s first-ever ride on a motorcycle was on a Honda Gold Wing back in 2009, and she’s measured every passenger seat and backrest since against that experience. With a low rider seat height of 29.1 inches on the TC and a passenger seat just a few inches higher, Carrie, who has short legs, found it easy to climb on and off the bike, aided in part by the passenger footboards. And once aboard, she found the seat to be all-day, day-after-day comfortable and the wrap-around backrest to be reassuring.
9. A place for my stuff
As George Carlin once said, “That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff.”
The top-loading saddlebags on the R 18 B and TC offer 27 liters of storage each, or 26.5 liters with the Marshall subwoofers installed in the lids. Styling-wise, the bags look great. Function-wise, they are fairly narrow, which presents some challenges with packing (BMW offers accessory drop-in liner bags that should make the process easier). But they open and close easily, with pop-up levers and central locks. The top trunk on the TC holds 48 liters (47 liters with optional audio), and it is spacious and easy to open/close/latch even when filled to the brim.
In the top of the 6.3-gallon fuel tank is a waterproof compartment for a smartphone. There’s a USB socket or charging and connecting the phone to the bike (navigation is provided via the free BMW Connected app). And since smartphones get hot, the compartment is ventilated with an electric fan. But the smartphone compartment does not lock, so riders must remember to take their phones with them when they park their bike. How else would you check Instagram?
10. Heavy is as heavy does
Heavyweight cruisers come by that description honestly. The 2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited we tested weighed 895 pounds. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited we tested weighed 922 pounds. The 2022 BMW R 18 B weighs 877 pounds and the R 18 Transcontinental weighs 941 pounds, and that’s before you add the Premium Package and other options/accessories. Part of that major poundage comes from the Big Boxer and its 6-speed gearbox, which weighs 244 pounds – about 35 pounds more than a Honda Grom.
BMW beefed up the R 18 frame to accommodate the added weight of the fairing, saddlebags, and trunk. Total permitted weight is 1,389 pounds, which translates to a load capacity of 512 pounds on the R 18 B and 448 pounds on the R 18 Transcontinental. Compared to the standard R 18, the B and TC also have a shorter wheelbase (66.7 inches, down from 68.1) and sharper rake (27.3 degrees, down from 32.7 degrees) but more trail (7.2 inches, up from 5.9). Even though the B and TC are heavier, they handle better.
Like most touring bikes, you mostly notice the weight when you lift it off the sidestand or move it around a parking lot or garage. Fortunately, our test bike has the optional reverse gear installed, which helped when moving the bike around on an incline. Out on the road, the heavy bikes trundle along just fine. And when the road gets windy, they handle well within the limits of other heavyweight touring cruisers.
We’ll post our full review soon, so stay tuned!
2022 BMW R 18 / R 18 Transcontinental Specs
Base Price: $21,945 / $24,995 Price as Tested: $29,065 / $31,695 Website:bmwmotorcycles.com Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat Twin, OHV w/ 4 valves per cyl. Displacement: 1,802cc (110ci) Bore x Stroke: 107.1 x 100.0mm Horsepower: 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Torque: 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch Final Drive: Shaft Wheelbase: 66.7 in. Rake/Trail: 27.3 degrees/7.2 in. Seat Height: 28.3 in. / 29.1 in. Wet Weight: 877 lbs. / 941 lbs. (base models) Fuel Capacity: 6.3 gals. Fuel Consumption: 42.5 mpg (R 18 Transcontinental, as tested) Estimated Range: 268 miles (R 18 Transcontinental, as tested)
This 2022 motorcycle buyers guide includes new or significantly updated street-legal models available in the U.S. It includes cruisers, sportbikes, retro-styled bikes, scooters, touring bikes, and more.
Organized in alphabetical order by manufacturer, it includes photos, pricing, key update info, and links to first looks and – when available – first rides, road tests, and video reviews of each motorcycle.
Available in Europe since 2018, the 2022 BMW C 400 GT scooter receives updates and joins the U.S. lineup. As its Gran Turismo name implies, the GT is geared toward touring and comfort while still offering agility, twist-and-go user-friendliness, and generous underseat storage scooters are known for. The 350cc single-cylinder engine receives new Euro 5 emissions certification and delivers a claimed 34 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 26 lb-ft of torque at 5,750 rpm. There are other updates to the engine, throttle-by-wire, traction control, and more. Base price is $8,495.
The 2022 BMW CE 04 scooter is part of BMW Motorrad’s “electromobility strategy.” It uses an innovative liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet electric motor mounted in the frame between the battery and the rear wheel. The motor is rated at 20 horsepower with a claimed maximum output of 42 horsepower, top speed is 75 mph, and 0-30 mph is achieved in 2.6 seconds. The CE 04 has a battery cell capacity of 60.6 Ah (8.9 kWh), providing a claimed range of 80 miles. Price and availability have not yet been announced.
When BMW unveiled the R 18 last year, a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced, it was only a matter of time before touring versions were added to the lineup. For 2022, BMW has announced the R 18 B “Bagger” (above) and R 18 Transcontinental (below). Both are equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing with an infotainment system, a passenger seat, and locking hard saddlebags, and the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest. The 2022 BMW R 18 B is equipped with a low windshield, a slim seat (height is 28.3 inches), and a matte black metallic engine finish. Base price is $21,495.
Like the R 18 B, the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental is equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing with an infotainment system, a passenger seat, and locking hard saddlebags, and the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest. The 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental has a tall windshield, wind deflectors, driving lights, heated seats, highway bars, and an engine finished in silver metallic. Base price is $24,995.
The lovable, popular Grom has been Honda‘s top-selling streetbike since it was introduced in 2014. Now in its third generation, the 2022 Honda Grom gets a revised engine, a new 5-speed transmission, a larger fuel tank, a thicker, flatter seat, and fresh styling. Large bolts on the bodywork and a new two-piece design for the down pipe and muffler make the Grom easier to customize. Base price is $3,399, and another $200 gets you ABS. The Honda Grom SP ($3,499, above) comes in Pearl White and includes special graphics, gold fork tubes, and gold wheels.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Chief, Indian Motorcycle revamped the entire lineup. In a nod to post-WW2 Indians, the lineup includes an updated Chief and two new models: the Chief Bobber and the Super Chief. Up-spec models include the Chief Dark Horse, Chief Bobber Dark Horse, and Super Chief Limited.
All Indian Chiefs are powered by the air-cooled, 49-degree Thunderstroke V-Twin, in either 111ci (1,811cc) or 116ci (1,890cc) displacement, with 6-speed transmissions and belt final drive. Every model has a low 26-inch seat height, and standard equipment includes keyless ignition, ride modes, cruise control, rear cylinder deactivation, and LED lighting.
The modern, sporty 2022 Indian Chief (above) has cast wheels with a 19-inch front, a solo saddle, midmount foot controls, and a drag-style handlebar. It’s powered by the Thunderstroke 111 V-Twin that makes 108 lb-ft of torque, and ABS is optional. The Indian Chief is available in Black Metallic, Ruby Smoke, and White Smoke, and pricing starts at $14,499.
Dark Horse models are known for their blacked-out finishes, dark paint, and minimalist styling. The 2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse has a Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin that belts out 120 lb-ft of torque. It also features a 4-inch round instrument panel with Ride Command, offering turn-by-turn navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and more, as well as standard ABS. The Chief Dark Horse rolls on cast wheels (19-inch front, 16-inch rear) and is available in Black Smoke, Alumina Jade Smoke, and Stealth Gray. Pricing starts at $16,999.
Following the success of the Scout Bobber, it’s only natural that Indian would add a variation to the Chief lineup. The 2022 Indian Chief Bobber has mini-ape hanger handlebars paired with forward foot controls for an upright riding position. Powered by the Thunderstroke 111, it rolls on 16-inch wire wheels, has fork and shock covers, a large headlight bucket wrapped in a nacelle, and a mix of chrome and black finishes. ABS is optional. The Indian Chief Bobber is available in Black Metallic and Ruby Metallic, pricing starts at $15,999.
The 2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse gets the larger, more powerful Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin, the 4-inch display with Ride Command, and standard ABS. Sixteen-inch wheels have chrome spokes and gloss black rims, and nearly everything gets a menacing, blacked-out look. The Chief Bobber Dark Horse comes in Black Smoke, Titanium Smoke, and Sagebrush Smoke, and pricing starts at $18,999.
For 2022, Indian‘s FTR lineup includes four models: FTR, FTR S, FTR R Carbon, and FTR Rally. The entire line gets an updated liquid-cooled 1,203cc V-Twin with a revised fuel map for better cold-start performance and throttle response, and rear-cylinder deactivation and revised heat channeling to improve comfort. The street-biased FTR, FTR S, and FTR R Carbon now roll on 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with Metzeler Sportec rubber, and have less front/rear suspension travel, a lower 32.2-inch seat height, and a narrower ProTaper handlebar. The scrambler-themed FTR Rally is still equipped with wire-spoke 19- and 18-inch wheels and longer suspension travel.
The base-model 2022 Indian FTR (above) has fully adjustable Sachs suspension, with a 43mm inverted fork and a piggyback rear shock. It’s available in Black Smoke, and pricing starts at $12,999.
The up-spec 2022 Indian FTR S features a Bluetooth ready 4.3-inch Ride Command touchscreen display, giving riders access to three selectable ride modes and IMU-supported rider aides like cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, rear-wheel lift mitigation, and stability control. Standard equipment includes a fast-charging USB port, an Akrapovič slip-on exhaust, and fully adjustable Sachs suspension. It’s available in Maroon Metallic (above) and White Smoke, and pricing starts at $14,999.
The top-of-the-line 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon stands apart from the crowd with a carbon fiber tank cover, fender, and headlight nacelle. It also has fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, a red frame, silver tailsection, black Akrapovič slip-on exhaust, a premium seat cover, and numbered badging. Pricing starts at $16,999.
Ready to hit the road for days on end in comfort and style, the 2022 Indian Super Chief features a quick-release windscreen, saddlebags, a touring seat with passenger pad, floorboards, and traditional pullback handlebars. Like the Chief Bobber, the Super Chief is powered by the Thunderstroke 111 and has 16-inch wire wheels, a large headlight bucket with nacelle, fork covers, and optional ABS. Its fully chromed shotgun-style dual exhaust enhances its classic style. It’s available in Black Metallic and Pearl White, and pricing starts at $18,499.
For touring riders who want more power, safety, and sophistication, the 2022 Indian Super Chief Limited features a quick-release windscreen, saddlebags, a touring seat with passenger pad, floorboards, and traditional pullback handlebars like the base-model Super Chief. The Limited adds the Thunderstroke 116 V-twin, standard ABS, and a 4-inch round display with Bluetooth-connected Ride Command. Chrome finishes and rich metallic paint make the Super Chief Limited extra special. It comes in Black Metallic, BlueSlate Metallic, and Maroon Metallic, and pricing starts at $20,999.
As far as dual-sport motorcycles go, the Kawasaki KLR650 is the stuff of legend. We’re big fans of the KLR, and when it was dropped from Kawasaki’s lineup we wrote a heartfelt requiem for our old friend. After a brief retirement, the 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 returns with some major upgrades, including a fuel-injected (finally!) liquid-cooled 652cc Single that promises increased reliability and fuel efficiency and optional ABS.
Four versions are available:
KLR650 (MSRP: $6,699; Pearl Sand Khaki and Pearl Lava Orange)
KLR650 ABS ($6,999; Pearl Sand Khaki)
KLR650 Traveler ($7,399; Pearl Lava Orange; equipped with factory-installed top case, 12V power outlet, and USB socket)
KLR650 Adventure (Non-ABS MSRP: $7,699, ABS MSRP: $7,999; Cypher Camo Gray; equipped with factory-installed side cases, LED auxiliary light set, engine guards, tank pad, 12V power outlet and USB socket)
The 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 is a naked sportbike powered by an updated version of the liquid-cooled 999cc inline Four from the K5 (2005-2008) GSX-R1000. It gets more aggressive, angular styling with stacked LED headlights and MotoGP-inspired winglets, a new 4-2-1 exhaust system, a new slipper clutch, and the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System. An updated seat design, new wheels shod with new Dunlop Roadsport 2 tires, revised instrumentation and switches, and a new larger fuel tank (5 gallons, up from 4.5) round out the changes. The 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000 is available in Metallic Triton Blue, Metallic Matte Mechanical Gray, and Glass Sparkle Black. Price is TBD.
Now in its third generation with its first update since 2008, the legendary 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa gets a thoroughly revised liquid-cooled 1,340cc inline that makes 187 horsepower at 9,750 rpm and a whopping 110 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. Peak figures are lower, but there’s more grunt in the midrange, and the latest Hayabusa accelerates faster than its predecessor. The Hayabusa has been updated and refined from nose to tail, with new styling and instrumentation, an IMU-enabled Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, and much more. Available in Glass Sparkle Black and Candy Burnt Gold; Metallic Matte Sword Silver and Candy Daring Red; and Pearl Brilliant White and Metallic Matte Stellar Blue, pricing for the 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa starts at $18,599.
For 2022, Triumph has given performance, technological, and visual updates to its entire Modern Classic lineup, which includes the iconic Bonneville T100, Bonneville T120 and T120 Black, Street Twin and Street Twin Gold Line, Bonneville Bobber, and Speedmaster models.
Triumph has merged the Bobber and up-spec Bobber Black into one single model, the 2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber. Like other models in the Bonneville lineup, the Bobber’s “high-torque” 1,200cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin gets a lighter crankshaft and mass-optimized clutch and counterbalancers. It also gets a larger 3-gallon fuel tank, an upgraded fork, a chunky front wheel, dual Brembo front calipers, standard cruise control and ABS, a new LED headlight, and some styling updates. The Bobber is available in Jet Black, Cordovan Red, and Matte Storm Grey and Matte Ironstone two-tone (above). Pricing starts at $13,150.
The 2022 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster gets an updated “high-torque” 1,200cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin, refined riding modes (Road and Rain), a larger-diameter and higher-spec 47mm Showa cartridge fork, improved rider and passenger seating, and updated instrumentation. The Speedmaster is available in Jet Black, Red Hopper, and two-tone Fusion White and Sapphire Black with hand-painted twin coach lines (above). Pricing starts at $13,150.
The 2022 Triumph Bonneville T100’s Euro 5-compliant “high-torque” 900cc parallel-Twin boasts an additional 10 ponies, bringing its claimed figures up to 64 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 59 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm. The engine also gets a lighter crankshaft, mass-optimized clutch and counterbalancers, a magnesium cam cover, and a thin-walled clutch cover, which together reduce curb weight by 8 pounds. The T100 also gets an upgraded fork, new instrumentation, and some styling tweaks. The Bonneville T100 is available in Jet Black, two-tone Lucerne Blue and Fusion White (above), and two-tone Carnival Red and Fusion White. Pricing starts at begins at $10,500.
The 2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 and T120 Black get engine updates, less weight (520 pounds wet, down 15.5), and other updates. The “high-torque” 1,200cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin gets a lighter crankshaft and mass-optimized clutch and counterbalancers. The big Bonnies get cruise control, new Brembo front calipers, refined riding modes (Road and Rain), and aesthetic upgrades. Pricing for the 2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 and T120 Black (above) starts at $12,050.
Limited to 1,000 units worldwide, the 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 R Black gives the 2,458cc mega cruiser an even leaner-and-meaner look. It features an aggressive all-black colorway that focuses on matte finishes, darkened tank badging, a carbon fiber front fender, and blacked-out components from nose-to-tail, and it comes with a certificate of authenticity. Pricing starts at $23,700.
Also limited to 1,000 units worldwide, the 2022 Triumph Rocket 3 GT Triple Black applies the dark treatment to the touring version, with a high-gloss three-shade paint scheme, a carbon fiber front fender, and blacked-out components. It comes with a certificate of authenticity that lists each motorcycle’s VIN. And its enormous 2,458cc inline Triple produces 167 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a 163 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Pricing starts at $24,400.
Also built on Triumph‘s Bonneville platform, the 2022 Scrambler 1200 XC, Scrambler 1200 XE, and Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition are powered by a “high power” version of Triumph’s liquid-cooled, 1,200cc parallel-Twin that’s been updated to meet Euro 5 emissions regulations, which includes a revised exhaust system that offers improved heat distribution. With a dedicated Scrambler tune, it makes 89 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 81 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. All three models have a 21-inch front wheel, side-laced tubeless wheels, and nearly 10 inches of suspension travel.
The 2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC is available in Sapphire Black ($14,000), two-tone Cobalt Blue and Jet Black ($14,500, above), and two-tone Matte Khaki Green and Matte Black ($14,500).
2022Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE / Steve McQueen Edition
Receiving the same updates as the XC, the higher-spec 2022 TriumphScrambler 1200 XE adds an Off-Road Pro mode and cornering-optimized ABS and traction control. It’s available in Sapphire Black ($15,400), two-tone Cobalt Blue and Jet Black ($15,900), and two-tone Matte Khaki Green and Matte Black ($15,900).
Limited to 1,000 in individually numbered units worldwide and based on the XE, the 2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition (above) honors the King of Cool with unique Steve McQueen branding on the tank and handlebar clamp, an exclusive Competition Green custom paint scheme, premium Scrambler accessories fitted as standard, and a certificate of authenticity with signatures from Triumph’s CEO, Nick Bloor, and Chad McQueen. Pricing starts at $16,400.
The 2022 Triumph Speed Twin gets similar engine updates as the rest of the Bonneville family, and its “high power” liquid-cooled, 1,200cc parallel-twin makes 98.6 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 83 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. To improve handling, the Speed Twin gets a higher-spec Marzocchi inverted cartridge fork, Brembo M50 monoblock calipers, lighter cast aluminum 12-spoke wheels, and Metzeler Racetec RR tires. Styling has also been refreshed. The Speed Twin is available in Red Hopper (above), Matte Storm Grey, and Jet Black. Pricing starts at $12,500.
As with other Bonneville models, the 2022 Triumph Street Scrambler’s liquid-cooled 900cc parallel-twin has been updated to meet Euro 5 emissions yet it still delivers 64 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 59 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. Styling updates include a new side panel with aluminum number board, a new heel guard, new brushed aluminum headlight brackets, new adventure-oriented seat material, new throttle body finishers, and new paint schemes. The Street Scrambler is available in Jet Black, Urban Grey, and two-tone Matte Khaki and Matte Ironstone; pricing starts at $11,000.
Limited to 775 units worldwide, the Scrambler Sandstorm Edition (above) has a unique paint scheme, premium accessories (high front fender, tail tidy, sump guard, headlight grille, and rubber knee pads on the tank), and a certificate of authenticity personalized with the bike’s VIN. Pricing starts at $11,750.
Heralded as Triumph’s best-selling Modern Classic, the 2022 Triumph Street Twin gets an updated engine, new cast wheels, and updated styling. Featuring the same updated “high-torque” 900cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin as the T100, the Street Twin now boasts 64 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 59 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. New 18- and 17-inch 10-spoke cast-aluminum wheels are fitted with Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp tires. The Street Twin is available in Cobalt Blue (above), Matte Ironstone, and Jet Black. Pricing starts at $9,400.
Limited to 1,000 units worldwide, the 2022 Triumph Street Twin Gold Line features a Matte Sapphire Black colorway with a Triumph heritage logo and hand-painted gold lining. Pricing starts at $10,150.
The all-new 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7 is a 689cc sportbike based on the MT-07 platform, slotting between the YZF-R3 and YZF-R1. It features an slip/assist clutch, an optional quickshifter, chassis upgrades, and all-new bodywork. The R7 delivers track-ready performance within reach, with an MSRP of $8,999. Available in Team Yamaha Blue (above) and Performance Black.
This 2021 motorcycle buyers guide includes new or significantly updated street-legal models available in the U.S. It includes bikes in many categories, including adventure, cafe racer, cruiser, sport, sport-touring, retro, touring, and others.
Organized in alphabetical order by manufacturer, it includes photos and links to details or, when available, first rides and road test reviews of each motorcycle. Due to the pandemic and supply chain disruptions, some manufacturers skipped the 2021 model year. Stay tuned for our 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide.
Aprilia‘s RS 660 is the first of three models — the RS 660 sportbike, the Tuono 660 naked bike (below), and the not-yet-released Tuareg 660 adventure bike — built on a new engine platform, a liquid-cooled 659cc parallel-Twin with a 270-degree firing order that makes a claimed 100 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 49.4 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm. The RS 660 is equipped with the IMU-enabled APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) electronics package with five ride modes, 3-level cornering ABS, 3-level traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, and engine braking management. Pricing starts at $11,299.
Aprilia is an Italian brand known for performance, and the RSV4 and RSV4 Factory are at the pointy end of the company’s go-fast spear. Both are powered by a 1,099cc, 65-degree V-4 that Aprilia says cranks out an eye-watering 217 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, even while meeting strict Euro 5 emissions regulations. And both are equipped with a 6-axis IMU and the APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) suite of rider aids. Whereas the standard RSV4 features fully adjustable Sachs suspension, the RSV4 Factory is equipped with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension, with a 43mm NIX upside-down fork, a TTX rear shock, and an electronic steering damper. The RSV4 has cast wheels and the RSV4 Factory has lighter and stronger forged wheels. MSRP for the RSV4 is $18,999 and MSRP for the RSV4 Factory is $25,999.
The Tuono name has always been associated with top-of-the-line street performance, and the Aprilia Tuono V4 and Tuono V4 Factory carry the cred with a 1,077cc V-4 that produces 175 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque at the crank (claimed). The Tuono V4 is the more street-focused of the two, with a taller windscreen, a higher handlebar, and optional saddlebags (as shown above), and it is equipped with fully adjustable Sachs suspension. The Tuono V4 Factory is equipped with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension. Both models feature a six-axis IMU that supports the APRC electronics suite. MSRP for the Tuono V4 is $15,999 and MSRP for the Tuono V4 Factory is $19,499.
The Benelli Leoncino (“little lion”) is an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured roadster powered by a liquid-cooled 500cc parallel-Twin also found in the TRK502X adventure bike (below). In the U.S., the Leoncino is part of a two-bike lineup, which includes the standard street-biased roadster model (shown above) and the Leoncino Trail, a scrambler variant with more suspension travel and spoked wheels with a 19-inch front and 90/10 adventure tires. The Leoncino comes with standard ABS and is priced at $6,199, while the Leoncino Trail is $7,199.
Like the Leoncino above, the Benelli TRK502X is an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured adventure bike powered by a liquid-cooled 500cc parallel-Twin. It has a comfortable and upright seating position, a good windscreen, 90/10 adventure tires with a 19-inch front, spoked wheels, ABS, hand and engine guards, and enough luggage capacity to go the distance (aluminum panniers and top box are standard). MSRP is $7,398.
The BMW R 18 is a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced. Part of BMW’s Heritage line, the R 18 has styling inspired by the 1930s-era R 5. Despite its classic looks, the long, low cruiser is equipped with fully modern electronics, brakes, suspension, and other features. Base price is $17,495. BMW recently announced two touring versions for the 2022 model year, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental, both with a fairing, hard saddlebags, and an infotainment system; the Transcontinental adds a trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.
The Ducati Monster is one of the Italian manufacturer’s most iconic and best-selling models. Gone is the trademark tubular-steel trellis frame, replaced with a front-frame design that uses the engine as a structural member of the chassis, as on the Panigale and Streetfighter V4 models. Compared to the previous Monster 821, the new model weighs 40 pounds less and is equipped with a more powerful 937cc Testastretta 11-degree L-Twin engine and top-shelf electronics. New styling and more make this an all-new Monster. Pricing starts at $11,895 for the Monster and $12,195 for the Monster+, which adds a flyscreen and passenger seat cover.
Another top-selling Ducati is the Multistrada adventure bike. For 2021, it is now the Multistrada V4 and it is powered by the 1,158cc 90-degree V4 Grandturismo engine that makes 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and stomping 92 lb-ft torque at 8,750 rpm (claimed). Ducati Skyhook semi-active suspension and a full suite of IMU-supported electronics are standard, and S models are equipped with a radar system that enables Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Detection. New for 2021 is a 19-inch front wheel. Pricing starts at $19,995 for the Multistrada V4 and $24,095 for the Multistrada V4 S.
Updates to the Ducati SuperSport 950 include new styling inspired by the Panigale V4, an IMU-enabled electronics package, and improved comfort. The seat is flatter and has more padding, the handlebar is higher, and the footpegs are lower. The SuperSport 950 is powered by a 937cc Testastretta L-Twin that makes 110 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 68.6 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm (claimed, at the crank). The SuperSport 950 is available in Ducati Red for $13,995. The SuperSport 950 S, which is equipped with fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and a passenger seat cover, is available in Ducati Red and Arctic White Silk starting at $16,195.
2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival
Earlier this year Harley-Davidson announced its new Icons Collection. The first model in the collection is the stunning Electra Glide Revival, which is inspired by the 1969 Electra Glide, the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle available with an accessory “batwing” fairing. Though retro in style, the Electra Glide Revival is powered by a Milwaukee Eight 114 V-twin and is equipped with RDRS Safety Enhancements and a Boom! Box infotainment system. Global production of the Electra Glide Revival is limited to a one-time build of 1,500 serialized examples, with an MSRP of $29,199.
With its iconic solid aluminum 18-inch Lakester wheels, for 2021 Harley-Davidson gave the Fat Boy 114 a new look with lots of chrome and bright work. Powering the Fat Boy is none other than the torquey Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin engine, equipped with a 6-speed gearbox and putting down a claimed 119 ft-lb of torque at just 3,000 rpm. Pricing starts at $19,999.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 / Pan America 1250 Special
A competitive, state-of-the-art, 150-horsepower adventure bike built by Harley-Davidson? Yea, right, when pigs fly! Well, the Motor Company came out swinging with its Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. Powered by the all-new Revolution Max 1250, a liquid-cooled, 1,252cc, 60-degree V-Twin with DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. The killer app is the optional Adaptive Ride Height, which lowers the higher-spec Pan America 1250 Special (which is equipped with semi-active Showa suspension) by 1 to 2 inches when the bike comes to a stop. Pricing starts at $17,319 for the Pan America 1250 and $19,999 for the Pan America 1250 Special.
For Harley-Davidson Touring models like the Road Glide, Road King, and Street Glide, there are Special models that offer a slammed look and 119 lb-ft of torque from the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin. The 2021 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special is available with new two-tone paint options, and with a choice of a blacked-out or bright chrome styling treatments. All Special models are now equipped with the high-performance Ventilator air cleaner with a washable filter element, and a new low-profile engine guard. Pricing starts at $26,699.
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S
The (air-cooled) Sportster is dead, long live the (liquid-cooled) Sportster! Visually similar to the 1250 Custom teased several years ago, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S represents a new era for the legendary Sportster line. Since the introduction of the XL model family in 1957, Sportsters have always been stripped-down motorcycles powered by air-cooled V-Twins. Harley calls the new Sportster S a “sport custom motorcycle,” and at the heart of the machine is a 121-horsepower Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin, a lightweight chassis, and premium suspension. Pricing starts at $14,999.
The Street Bob, with its mini-ape handlebar, mid-mount controls, and bobber-style fenders, has become a fan favorite among those looking for a minimalist American V-twin to customize. The 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114 packs more punch, thanks to the larger, torque-rich Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. Pricing starts at $14,999.
With a slammed look and 119 lb-ft of torque from the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special is available with new two-tone paint options, and with a choice of a blacked-out or bright chrome styling treatments. All Special models are now equipped with the high-performance Ventilator air cleaner with a washable filter element, and a new low-profile engine guard. Pricing starts at $27,099.
The 2021 Honda ADV150 is an ADV-styled scooter, essentially a Honda PCX150 with longer travel Showa suspension (5.1/4.7 inches front/rear) and a larger ABS-equipped 240mm disc brake at the bow and a drum brake without ABS in the stern. Its powered by a liquid-cooled 149cc Single and has an automatic V-matic transmission. Pricing starts at $4,199.
Well-mannered motorcycles seldom make racing history, and the 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP was developed with one uncompromising goal — win superbike races at all costs. It’s powered by an inline-Four that we dyno tested at 175 horsepower at the rear wheel, and it’s equipped with Öhlins semi-active suspension, IMU-enabled electronics, and top-shelf braking hardware. And it’s street legal and available for purchase from your local Honda dealer. MSRP is $28,500.
The 2021 Honda CRF300L (above) and CRF300L Rally (below) dual-sports share the same powerplant, a liquid-cooled 286cc Single which boasts 15% more displacement, power, and torque than its 250cc predecessor. They have a new slip/assist clutch, revised steering geometry, less weight, and a new LCD meter. The CRF300L has a base price of $5,249 (add $300 for ABS), weighs 309 pounds, has a 2.1-gallon tank, and has a 34.7-inch seat height.
The 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally (above) dual-sports share the same powerplant, a liquid-cooled 286cc Single which boasts 15% more displacement, power, and torque than its 250cc predecessor. They have a new slip/assist clutch, revised steering geometry, less weight, and a new LCD meter. The CRF300L Rally, which has a windscreen, handlebar weights, rubber footpeg inserts, a larger front brake rotor, more seat padding, and a larger fuel tank (3.4 gallons vs. 2.1) than the CRF300L, has a base price of $5,999 (add $300 for ABS), weighs 333 pounds, and has a 35.2-inch seat height.
The Honda CRF450L debuted for 2019, bringing CRF450R motocross performance to a street-legal dual-sport. Its lightweight, compact, liquid-cooled 449cc single has a 12:1 compression ratio and a Unicam SOHC valve train with titanium valves. For 2021, Honda added an “R” to the model name (CRF450RL), lowered the price to $9,999 (from $10,399), revised the ECU and fuel-injection settings for better throttle response, and added new hand guards and fresh graphics.
The Gold Wing has been Honda‘s flagship touring model for more than 40 years. It entered its sixth generation for the 2018 model year, with a complete overhaul to the GL1800 platform that made it lighter, sportier, and more technologically advanced. The standard Gold Wing (above) and trunk-equipped Gold Wing Tour (below) won Rider‘s 2018 Motorcycle of the Year award. Gold Wing updates for 2021 include a suede-like seat cover, colored seat piping, audio improvements, and red rear turnsignals. Pricing starts at $23,800 for the Gold Wing and $25,100 for the Gold Wing DCT (with 7-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission).
Updates for the Honda Gold Wing Tour include the same ones listed above for the standard Gold Wing: a suede-like seat cover, colored seat piping, audio improvements, and red rear turnsignals. But the Tour also got a larger top trunk (61 liters, up from 50) that now easily accepts two full-face helmets; total storage capacity is now 121 liters. The passenger seat’s backrest features a more relaxed angle, thicker foam, and a taller profile. Pricing starts at $23,800 for the Gold Wing and $25,100 for the Gold Wing DCT (with 7-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission).
Joining the Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 in Honda‘s cruiser lineup for 2021 is the all-new Rebel 1100, which is powered by powered by a version of the liquid-cooled 1,084cc parallel-twin used in the 2020 Africa Twin, which uses a Unicam SOHC valve train and is available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission. Standard equipment includes four ride modes (Standard, Sport, Rain and User, which is customizable), Honda Selectable Torque Control (aka traction control, which has integrated wheelie control), engine brake control, and cruise control. Pricing starts at $9,299 for the Rebel 1100 and $9,999 for the Rebel 1100 DCT.
The latest addition to Honda‘s miniMOTO lineup is the Trail 125 ABS, which is powered by the same air-cooled 125cc Single found in the Grom, Monkey, and Super Cub C125. Like the Monkey and Super Cub, the Trail plays the retro card, pulling at heartstrings for a bike beloved by many decades ago. Just like its forefathers, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 proudly carries on the tradition of being a quaint and understated dual-sport, with a steel backbone frame, upright handlebar, square turnsignals, upswept exhaust, high-mount snorkel, and luggage rack. MSRP is $3,899.
For 2021, the Indian Roadmaster Limited gets the larger 116ci Thunder Stroke V-Twin versus the original 111, and it has a modern streamlined fairing, open front fender, and slammed saddlebags. As a premium touring model, the Roadmaster Limited also gets Indian’s heated and cooled ClimaCommand seats and other upgrades. Pricing starts at $30,749.
Like the Honda CRF300L above, Kawasaki‘s entry-level dual-sport got a displacement boost, which warranted a name change from KLX250 to KLX300. The 2021 KLX300 makes more thanks to a larger 292cc Single, which is liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, and has DOHC with four valves. It also uses more aggressive cam profiles, making it livelier than its predecessor. All of that is paired to a 6-speed gearbox and 14/40 final drive. Pricing starts at $5,599. And joining the KLX300 is a supermoto version, the KLX300SM (below).
Joining the KLX300 dual-sport (above) in Kawasaki‘s 2021 lineup is an all-new supermoto version, the KLX300SM. It has street-oriented 17-inch wire-spoke wheels and IRC Road Winner RX-01 rubber, and the suspension is stiffer with slightly abbreviated travel. The KLX300SM also has taller final-drive gearing and a larger front brake rotor. Pricing starts at $5,599.
Speaking of supermoto, KTM‘s track-only, race-ready 450 SMR is back for 2021. Using the 450 SX-F motocross racer as its foundation, the SMR shares its 63-horsepower 450cc single-cylinder SOHC engine, lightweight steel frame, and cast-aluminum swingarm. To suit its supermoto purpose, wider triple clamps with a 16mm offset accommodate tubeless Alpina wheels (16.5-inch front and 17-inch rear) fitted with ultra-sticky Bridgestone Battlax Supermoto slicks. The WP Xact suspension is updated, reducing suspension travel to an ample 11.2 inches in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear, lowering the bike’s center of gravity and improving handling. A radially mounted Brembo M50 front caliper squeezes a 310mm Galfer floating rotor to deliver all the braking power you’ll ever need on a bike that weighs just 232 pounds wet. MSRP is $11,299.
We selected the KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R as Rider‘s 2019 Motorcycle of the Year. Just two years later, KTM has updated the platform. Adapted from the 890 Duke R, the engine now has more displacement, a higher compression ratio, and other improvements. And like the 890 Duke R, the Adventure R has better throttle-by-wire response, a beefed-up clutch and a shortened shift lever stroke and lighter shift-detent spring for faster shifting. Chassis updates include an aluminum head tube, a lighter swingarm, revised suspension settings, and refinements to the braking system. Pricing starts at $14,199.
The limited-edition KTM 890 Adventure R Rally received the same updates as the 890 Adventure R (above), but is loaded with race-spec inspired components. Its development utilized feedback from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team riders, Toby Price, and Sam Sunderland. Only 700 units of the 890 Adventure R Rally will be produced worldwide, with 200 slated for the North American market. Pricing starKTM 8ts at $19,999.
Powering the 2021 KTM 890 Duke is the same punchy, rip-roaring 889cc parallel-Twin producing a claimed 115 horsepower and 67.9 lb-ft of torque that’s also found in the 890 Duke R and 890 Adventure (above). Shared amongst the middleweight Duke family is a chromoly-steel frame, lightweight one-piece aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm. By using the 889cc engine as a stressed member, the 890 Duke flaunts a mere 372-pound dry weight. We recently completed a comparison test of the 2021 KTM Duke lineup (200, 390, 890, and 1290), which will be posted soon.
On March 15, 2021, Moto Guzzi celebrated its 100th anniversary of continuous production at its headquarters in Mandello del Lario, Italy. One of Moto Guzzi’s most iconic models, the V7, was updated for 2021, and is available in more modern V7 Stone and classic V7 Special versions. Both have a larger 853cc V-Twin derived from engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT. They also get reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch, a stiffer frame, a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive, revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks, an updated ABS module, a wider rear tire, vibration-damping footpegs, and a thicker passenger seat. MSRP for the V7 Stone is $8,990, or $9,190 for the Centenario edition (shown above).
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Special gets the same updates as the V7 Stone above. Whereas the V7 Stone has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight, the V7 Special is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. MSRP is $9,490.
For 2021, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT gets some updates to its air-cooled 853cc 90-degree V-Twin. The revised powerplant offers more torque at low to midrange rpm thanks to optimized lift of the pushrod-and-rockers timing cams and tweaks to the engine control electronics. New spoked rims now mount tubeless tires, reducing unsprung weight by 3.3 pounds for better handling and facilitating plug-and-go flat repairs. Two new riding modes—Sport and Custom—join the existing three (Street, Rain, Off-road) to provide more flexibility in managing throttle response, traction control and ABS to suit rider preferences. Cruise control and the color TFT instrument panel also come standard. The 2021 V85 TT Adventure ($12,990) has standard saddlebags. The 2021 V85 TT Travel ($13,390) includes a Touring windscreen, side panniers from the Urban series, auxiliary LED lights, heated hand grips, and the Moto Guzzi MIA multimedia platform.
For 2021, the Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike, which is powered by an air-cooled 411cc Single, get several updates, including switchable ABS to help riders when riding off-road, a revised rear brake that is said to improve braking performance, a redesigned sidestand, and a new hazard light switch. MSRP is $4,999.
For 2021, the Royal Enfield family gets a new addition — the Meteor 350, a light, affordable cruiser powered by an all-new air-cooled 349cc single with SOHC actuating two valves. Available in three budget-friendly trim packages, variants include the base-model Fireball ($4,399) with a black exhaust system; the Stellar ($4,499), with a chrome exhaust and a passenger backrest; and the Supernova ($4,599), which adds a windshield and a two-tone paint scheme.
Triumph‘s Speed Triple is one of the original hooligan bikes. It has evolved over the years since its introduction in 1994, and for 2021 the Speed Triple 1200 RS is the lightest, most powerful, highest-spec version yet. Its all-new 1,160cc Triple (up from 1,050cc) makes 165 horsepower at the rear wheel, and the RS is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics, fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, Brembo Stylema front calipers, and much more. Pricing starts at $18,300.
The 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a street-focused adventure bike powered by the same liquid-cooled 888cc in-line triple as the Tiger 900 models, but it has been detuned to 82 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning‘s dyno, which is about 10 horsepower lower. To keep the price down, Triumph also reduced the number of ride modes to two (Road and Rain) and limited suspension adjustability to rear preload. But this is no bargain-bin special. It has Marzocchi suspension front and rear, and it has Brembo brakes, with Stylema front calipers and a radial front master cylinder. ABS is standard but not switchable, and traction control is also standard but is switchable.
The 2021 Triumph Trident 660 is a triple-cylinder-powered roadster in the the twin-cylinder-dominated middleweight class. It’s powered by a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 660cc inline-Triple making a claimed 79.9 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm, and it is equipped with ABS, switchable traction control, and selectable ride modes. MSRP is $7,995.
Updates for 2021 to the Yamaha MT-07, its best-selling middleweight naked sportbike, include revisions to the 689cc liquid-cooled CP2 (Cross Plane 2-cylinder) parallel-Twin engine to meet Euro 5 regulations and to improve low-rpm throttle response. The MT-07 has a new 2-into-1 exhaust, revisions to the 6-speed gearbox to improve shifting feel, LED lighting all around, new instrumentation, revised ergonomics, and new styling that brings it closer in appearance to the larger MT-09 (below). Base price is $7,699, and three color choices are available: Storm Fluo, Matte Raven Black, and Team Yamaha Blue.
Now in its third generation, fully 90% of the Yamaha MT-09 naked sportbike is new for 2021. Its has an entirely new 890cc CP3 (Cross Plane 3-cylinder) inline-Triple engine, a thoroughly updated and significantly stiffer chassis, state-of-the-art electronics, and a fresh look that results in the most refined MT-09 yet. The base price increased by $400 to $9,399, but the four extra Benjamins are worth it. The MT-09 is available in Storm Fluo (shown above), Matte Raven Black, and Team Yamaha Blue. There’s also an MT-09 SP ($10,999) with exclusive special-edition coloring, premium KYB and Öhlins suspension, and cruise control.
After being teased for several years, Yamaha‘s highly anticipated Ténéré 700 adventure bike made its U.S. debut in the summer of 2021, bringing some excitement during a challenging pandemic year. It’s powered by the versatile 689cc liquid-cooled CP2 (Cross Plane 2-cylinder) parallel-Twin engine from the MT-07 (above), modified for adventure duty with a new airbox with a higher snorkel, a revised cooling system, an upswept exhaust, and a final gear ratio of 46/15 vs. 43/16. The rest of the bike is all-new, including the narrow double-cradle tubular-steel frame, triangulated (welded-on) subframe, double braced steering head and aluminum swingarm, adjustable long-travel suspension, switchable ABS, and more. Base price is $9,999 and its available in Ceramic Ice, Intensity White (shown above), and Matte Black.
Now in its third generation, Yamaha’s middleweight sport-tourer — now called the Tracer 9 GT — is new from the ground up for 2021. It has a larger, more powerful engine, a new frame, and a state-of-the-art electronics package that includes semi-active suspension. With these updates comes a higher price, and MSRP is now $14,899. It’s available in Liquid Metal (shown above) and Redline.
New for 2021, Zero has taken the existing frame from the FX and added a redesigned body. The starkly modern, supermoto styling is very similar in appearance to the FXS – tall, slim and sporting a raised front mudguard. However, the FXE is capable of a claimed 100-mile range on a full battery charge and costs $11,795, which can be bought down to around $10,000 depending upon available EV rebates and credits.
Compared to many of its heavier, more expensive competitors the FXE is a lightweight and thrilling runabout, and what it gives up in range it makes up for in accessibility and potential for fun. The FXE makes for a credible commuter bike, capable of taking to the highway but ideal to zip around town on.
When BMW unveiled the R 18 last year, a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced, it was only a matter of time before touring versions were added to the lineup.
For 2022, BMW has announced the R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental. Both are equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing, a passenger seat, and locking hard saddlebags, and the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.
Available this month, the 2022 BMW R 18 B has a base price of $21,495 and the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental has a base price of $24,995. The standard R 18 and R 18 Classic remain in the lineup.
The new R 18 B is equipped with a low windshield, a slim seat, and a matte black metallic engine finish. The R 18 Transcontinental has a taller windshield, wind deflectors, driving lights, heated seats, highway bars, and an engine finished in silver metallic.
Seat height is 28.3 inches on the R 18 B and 29.1 inches on the R 18 Transcontinental. Both have mid-mount controls, with footrests on the Bagger and rider and passenger footboards on the Transcontinental. Fuel capacity is a generous 6.3 gallons (up from 4.2 on the standard R 18).
The saddlebags offer 27 liters of storage in each side (26.5 liters with optional audio), and an additional storage compartment with charging for mobile phones is integrated into the fuel tank. The Transcontinental’s trunk holds 48 liters (47 liters with optional audio).
BMW gave the touring versions of the R 18 a streamliner-style fairing and sculpted saddlebags that complement the lines of the standard bike. Inspired by the 1930s-era R 5, the R 18 has a double-loop frame, a gloss nickel-plated universal driveshaft, classic housing for the rear-axle gearbox, and black paintwork with optional double pinstriping. The “Big Boxer” showcases the overhead pushrod guides on top of the cylinders, while the belt cover and the cylinder head covers echo the legendary R 5 engine’s styling.
As with BMW motorcycles of the past, the fork tubes are clad with a cover extending to the slider tubes in the form of contemporary stainless-steel fork sleeves. Newly designed, rearward-curving side covers blend with the elongated lines, combining with the handlebar-mounted front trim and round mirrors to give the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental a distinctive styling touch.
The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental have triple-disc brakes with BMW Motorrad Full Integral ABS. Standard equipment includes Dynamic Cruise Control, which maintains the preselected speed even when riding downhill and applies the brakes as needed to do so. Optional Active Cruise Control uses radar sensors to maintain distance from the vehicle in front even if speed changes, and it also adjusts speed during cornering.
Both models have full LED lighting, and the Adaptive Turning Light is optional. It uses a swivel function to point the low beam into corners according to banking angle, and it also adjusts according to load and ride height.
Behind the fairing are four analog gauges and a 10.25-inch TFT color display. The gauges include a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and a “Power Reserve” instrument adapted from the BMW Group’s Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand. The TFT display allows a navigation map to be displayed in the instrument cluster via a smartphone and the BMW Motorrad Connected App, thus eliminating the need for any additional displays. The display can also be customized with various tiles such as My Motorcycle, Radio, Navigation, Media, Phone, and Settings. Vehicle functions such as Settings, Navigation, and Communication are operated using the Multicontroller wheel next to the left grip.
Other features include:
Riding modes: Rain, Roll, and Rock
Automatic Stability Control (switchable)
Engine drag torque control (MSR)
Hill Start Control
Reverse assist (optional)
The new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are equipped with a standard sound system developed together with the British manufacturer Marshall featuring two 2-way loudspeakers, each with 25 watts output, integrated into the front fairing, black speaker grills, and white Marshall lettering.
Highlights of the audio system include:
Equalizer profiles – optimized listening profiles for a perfect audio experience
via the helmet: one profile (studio)
via loudspeakers: four profiles (bass-boost, treble-boost, voice, balanced)
Highly flexible sound architecture design options (treble/bass) with a very broad output spectrum (output range), even at high speeds
FM/AM band, HD radio and optional SiriusXM Satellite radio
The optional Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 equips the motorcycles adds a pair of 90-watt subwoofers in the front upper section of the side cases and a 180-watt amplifier.
The Marshall Gold Series Stage 2, available for the R 18 Transcontinental, includes five speakers (two in the fairing, subwoofers in the saddlebags, and a 2-way, 25-watt speaker in the front side section of the passenger backrest) and a 180-watt amplifier.
R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental First Editions
At market launch, the new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available in exclusive First Edition versions in addition to the standard models. These combine the classic R 18 look with equipment in exclusive paint and chrome.
Additional equipment extras include chrome components, Blackstorm metallic paint with elaborate double-pinstripes in Lightwhite echoes the bikes’ historical roots. Other highlights include special surface finishes, an embroidered seat and the inscription “First Edition” on the side cases.
First Edition features include:
Wheels in black, contrast milled (R 18 B)
Wheels in silver grey, contrast milled (R 18 Transcontinental)
Chrome clasps on cases with “First Edition” lettering
Chrome-plated handlebar fittings
Chrome-plated cylinder head covers and hero chest
Chrome-plated intake trim
White double pinstriping on fuel tank, fairing and trunks and cases
Chrome-plated brake calipers at the front (R 18 Transcontinental only)
Another component is the “First Edition” Welcome Box which is exclusively reserved for buyers of the “First Edition” and contains:
Box with picture of the engine on the lid
Historic fuel tank emblems (copper-colored lettering)
Historic slotted screws (copper-colored)
Assembly screwdriver (can also be used as a key ring)
“R 18 First Edition” cap
Leather belt with exclusive “R 18 First Edition” belt buckle
Book the history of BMW Motorrad
As with all BMW motorcycles, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available with an extensive range of options and accessories. We’ll get a chance to ride both bikes soon, so stay tuned for our review. To find a BMW Motorrad dealer near you, visit bmwmotorcycles.com.
The CE 04 scooter marks the beginning of a new chapter in what BMW Motorrad calls their “electromobility strategy.” The thoroughly contemporary design includes an all-electric drive and, BMW claims, innovative connectivity solutions aimed squarely at urban mobility and commuters. The bodywork is finished in Light White as standard, contrasting with black working parts, and finished with a modern “floating” bench seat. Solid wheels and a sidestand, integrated with the bodywork, finish off the styling. The CE 04 is also available in an optional Magellan Grey metallic, supplemented with a black/orange seat and an orange wind deflector.
The CE 04 uses an innovative liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet electric motor, mounted in the frame between the battery and the rear wheel. BMW says they have conducted extensive riding tests to develop specific types of battery recuperation relative to the choice of riding mode. The motor is rated at 20 horsepower with a claimed maximum output of 42 horsepower, which should make it zippy. BMW has highlighted the importance they placed in providing opportunities for riders to choose between maximum efficiency and maximum riding fun, as the mood or need requires. Three riding modes include Rain, with reduced power, Eco, where range is prioritized over performance, Road for more zip, and an optional Dynamic mode, for maximizing performance. Top speed is limited to a healthy 74.5 mph, and 0-30 mph is achieved in 2.6 seconds.
The CE 04 has a battery cell capacity of 60.6 Ah (8.9 kWh), providing a claimed range of 80 miles (the reduced output version manages 62 miles). The last published study conducted by the DOT on commuting was in 2003 and found that, on average, U.S. commuters travel 15 miles to work. The CE 04 is well within those limits but will require owners to regularly recharge. The lithium-ion battery is charged using one of the BMW integrated charging devices and a regular household socket or a public charging station. When the battery is completely flat a complete charge takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes. The optional quick charger reduces charging time to 1 hour and 40 minutes from completely flat and will take a battery at 20% up to 80% in 45 minutes.
The frame is constructed from tubular steel, with a telescopic fork and twin disc brakes for the front wheel, and a single-sided swingarm/monoshock, and a single-disc brake at the rear. ABS comes as standard, and BMW’s ABS Pro (combines with tilt sensor) is an option. Tires are 120/70-R15 at the front and 160/60-R15 at the rear. A 10.25-inch TFT color screen with integrated map navigation and extensive connectivity should allow owners to safely stow their device in the ventilated mobile phone charging compartment with USB-C charging port. All-round LED lighting units are standard. Adaptive Headlight Pro provides cornering illumination as an available option, as is Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), available by means of an ASC (Automatic Stability Control) unit. ASC limits engine torque in relation to rear wheel slip and DTC enables safe acceleration in various conditions and is also sensitive to lean angle.
Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW AG, said, “The BMW CE 04 is our new electric star for the city. It combines an e-drive with emotion and motorcycling fun. The latest technology, and the best battery cells, which also provide power in the BMW iX. Just like the CE 04, all future new BMW Motorrad models for urban mobility will be pure electric.”
Price and availability have not yet been announced. For more information visit: bmwmotorcycles.com
BMW Motorrad USA has released details of the latest updates and changes across the entire model lineup for 2022, and the introduction of the new M 1000 RR. We can expect to see the first examples arriving in US dealerships in the last quarter of 2021. The list includes details on pricing, equipment changes, and paint scheme updates for motorcycles and scooters. Also included are a comprehensive list of available upgrade packages, which have been streamlined and standardized across the range.
2022 BMW C 400 GT Scooter
The only scooter in BMW’s 2022 lineup, we took a first look at the C 400 GT back in March. The Euro 5-compliant, 350cc engine delivers a claimed 34 horsepower and 26 lb-ft of torque, transmitted through a Constantly Variable Transmission.
Expected Availability: In dealers now
Base MSRP: $8,495
Equipment Changes: Updates for the 2022 model include an electronic throttle and engine management system, improvements to the catalytic converter, and enhancements to the engine. The ASC (traction control) system has been updated for 2022 and promises a more sensitive response in wet and slippery conditions. Additionally, the brakes have received new calipers with improved piston response and the forward storage compartment now features a 12-volt outlet and a USB charging socket.
Color Schemes: The C 400 GT comes in Alpine White as standard. Callisto Grey Metallic ($150) and Black Storm Metallic ($250) are optional premium alternatives.
Color Schemes: Light White is carried over as the standard color and Black Storm Metallic now replaces Black Storm as a $350 optional color. San Marino Blue Metallic ($260) is also carried over as an option.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $1,000 GPS Prep Cruise Control Ride Modes Pro Heated Grips Dynamic Engine Brake Control (new) Luggage Rack (new)
. Premium Upgrade Package $2,400 Select Package contents LED Style Elements Gear Shift Assist Pro (new) Keyless Ride Dynamic ESA TPM tire pressure monitor
F 850 GS
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: TBA
Color Schemes: Racing Red remains the standard color, while New Black Storm Metallic ($350) replaces Black Storm as an optional color along with Rallye Blue ($325), carried over from last year.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $950 GPS Prep Cruise Control Ride Modes Pro Heated Grips Dynamic Engine Brake Control (new) Luggage Rack (new)
. Premium Package $2,350 Select Package contents LED Style Elements Gear Shift Assist Pro (new) Keyless Ride Dynamic ESA TPM tire pressure monitor
F 850 GS Adventure
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: TBA
Color Schemes: Light White replaces Ice Gray as the standard color, Black Storm Metallic ($325) replaces Black Storm as an optional color. Kalamata Matte Metallic is also still available as a $350 option.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $1,350 GPS Prep Cruise control LED fog lights (new) Ride Modes Pro Heated grips Aluminum side case holders Dynamic Engine Brake Control
. Premium Package $3,100 Select Package contents LED Style Elements Gear Shift Assist Pro (new) Keyless Ride Dynamic ESA TPM tire pressure monitor
Color Schemes: Black Storm Metallic remains the standard color, while Bluestone Metallic ($300) replaces San Marino Blue as an optional color, and the classic BMW Racing white, blue and red scheme ($300) replaces Hockenheim Silver and Racing Red as the second option.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $975 Heated Grips TPM tire pressure monitor Dynamic Traction Control Gear Shift Assist Pro Ride Modes Pro ABS Pro
. Premium Package $2,500 Select Package contents Dynamic ESA Headlight Pro Adaptive Headlight Dynamic Engine Brake Control Keyless Ride GPS Prep Cruise Control Saddle Bag Mounts
F 900 XR
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $11,695
Color Schemes: Light White is carried over as the standard color for the F 900 XR. Black Storm Metallic ($250) replaces Gelvanic Gold Metallic as an optional color, and Racing Red ($250) remains the second option.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $950 GPS Prep Cruise Control Heated Grips Saddle Bag Mounts Dynamic Traction Control Ride Modes Pro ABS Pro
. Premium Package $2,400 Select Package contents Dynamic ESA Keyless Ride Center Stand Headlight Pro Adaptive Headlight Gear Shift Assist Pro Dynamic Engine Brake Control TPM tire pressure monitor
2022 BMW R nineT, R nineT Pure, R nineT Scrambler and R nineT Urban G/S
Updates for the 2021 R nineT models included changes to the engine for Euro 5 compatibility, as well as new LED headlights, improved ABS, and adjustable suspension. Rider published a summary in the October issue last year. Updates for 2022 are limited to available upgrade packages, and color schemes across the R nineT range will remain the same as last year’s model except for the G/S.
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $15,945
Color Schemes: Black Storm Metallic is carried over as the standard color. Optional colors remain the same as last years’s model: Aluminum Matte ($1,000), Night Black / Aluminum Matte ($1,100), and Mineral White Metallic/Aurum ($1,050).
Updated Upgrade Package: Select Package $1,000 Ride Modes Pro Heated Grips Cruise Control Adaptive Headlight Headlight Pro (new) Dynamic Engine Brake Control Dynamic Traction Control
R nineT Pure
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $10,995
Color Schemes: Mineral Grey Metallic is carried over as the standard color. Optional colors remain the same as last years’s model: Aluminum, Black Storm Metallic/Racing Red ($590), Cosmic Blue Metallic/Light White ($590) and Teal Blue Metallic Matte ($250).
R nineT Scrambler
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $13,495
Equipment Changes: New optional off-road tires.
Color Schemes: Granite Grey Metallic remains the standard color. Optional colors include, Kalamata Metallic ($200), Black Storm Metallic/Racing Red ($590), and Cosmic Blue Metallic/Light White ($590.
Updated Upgrade Package: Select Package $1,000 Ride Modes Pro Heated Grips Cruise Control Adaptive Headlight Headlight Pro (new) Dynamic Engine Brake Control Dynamic Traction Control
R nineT Urban G/S
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $13,995
Color Schemes: The 40 Years of GS Edition is no longer available and Blue Metallic is the only available color.
Updated Upgrade Package: Select Package $1,000 Ride Modes Pro Heated Grips Cruise Control Adaptive Headlight Headlight Pro (new) Dynamic Engine Brake Control Dynamic Traction Control Black Cross Spoked Wheels
2022 BMW R 1250 R and R 1250 RS
Rider covered the extensive changes made to these models in 2019 with a First Look Review. Updates for 2020 are limited to upgrade packages and, as with most of the other models, these are now streamlined. Sport and Select packages have been replaced by a single Premium package.
R 1250 R
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $14,995
Color Schemes: Black Storm Metallic is carried over as standard color, as are Mineral Grey Metallic ($500), and BMW Racing white, blue and red ($600) optional schemes.
Updated Upgrade Package: Premium Package $2,525 Chrome Exhaust Heated Grips TPM tire pressure monitor Gear Shift Assist Pro Ride Modes Pro Dynamic Engine Brake Control ABS Pro Dynamic Traction Control Keyless Ride GPS Prep Cruise Control
R 1250 RS
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $15,695
Color Schemes: Black Storm Metallic is carried over as the standard color. Imperial Blue Metallic ($425) is also retained as an optional color, and Light White ($525) replaces Austin Yellow Metallic as the second color option.
Updated Upgrade Package: Premium Package $3,175 Chrome Exhaust Heated Grips Dynamic ESA Keyless Ride GPS Prep Cruise Control Center Stand Saddle Bag Mounts Dynamic Traction Control Gear Shift Assist Pro Ride Modes Pro ABS Pro
2022 BMW R 1250 GS, R 1250 GS Adventure, and R 1250 RT
Rider covered the extensive changes made to these models in 2019 with a First Ride Review. Updates for 2020 are limited to upgrade packages, and as with most of the other models, these are now streamlined. Comfort, Dynamic, Sport and Touring packages have been replaced by a Select and Premium packages across the range.
R 1250 GS
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $17,995
Color Schemes: Light White is carried over as a standard color. Black Storm Metallic Black/Achat Grey ($950), Rallye (Light White / Racing Blue / Racing Red) ($1,150) and Black Storm Metallic 40 Years of GS Edition ($2,050) are all retained as optional colors.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Select Package $1,900 Keyless Ride Heated Grips Chrome Exhaust GPS Prep Cruise Control Hand Protectors Case Holders Seat Heating TPM tire pressure monitor
. Premium package $4,000 Select Package contents Dynamic ESA Gear Shift Assist Pro Ride Modes Pro Dynamic Engine Brake Control Adaptive Headlight Headlight Pro Cruising Lighting
R 1250 GS Adventure
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $20,345
Color Schemes: Ice Grey is carried over as the standard color and Black Storm Metallic Black/Achat Grey ($600), Rallye (Light White / Racing Blue / Racing Red) ($800) and Black Storm Metallic 40 Years of GS Edition ($1,800 are all retained as optional colors.
. Premium Package $4,325 Select Package contents Dynamic ESA Gear Shift Assist Pro RideModes Pro Dynamic Engine Brake Control Adaptive Headlight Headlight Pro LED Auxiliary Lights Cruising Light
R 1250 RT
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $19,695
Equipment Changes: New freely-assignable Favorite function button.
Color Schemes: Alpine White is carried over as the standard color. New Black Storm Metallic ($525) replaces Manhattan Metallic as an optional color. Mineral White Metallic ($1,995) and Racing Blue Metallic ($650) are also carried over as optional colors.
Updated Upgrade Package: Premium Package $4,500 Keyless Ride Chrome Exhaust Central Locking Seat Heating Alarm Bluetooth Connectivity (new) 12V socket Dynamic ESA Gear Shift Assist Pro Ride Modes Pro Active Cruise Control Adaptive Headlight Dynamic Engine Brake Control Headlight Pro Auxiliary Lights TPM tire pressure monitor
2022 BMW R 18 and R 18 Classic
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: TBA
Equipment Changes: Reverse assistance and black drivetrain.
Color Schemes: Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 Metallic has been added as optional color scheme (see Upgrade Packages), and the First Edition scheme is no longer available.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Option 719 Design Package AERO – The Option 719 Design Package AERO includes cylinder head covers, front engine cover and left and right intake snorkel covers in aluminum with a brushed, anodized finish. The cylinder head covers feature finely wrought air vents reminiscent of the “streamliners” of the 1920s and 1930s. The highlight is a badge on the front and side covers: This is made of solid copper which is chrome-plated and partially finished in white. The white paint enclosing the number sequence “719” is reminiscent of historical emblems that were typically lined with enamel during that era.
Option 719 seat – The Option 719 seat is an exclusive alternative to the standard seat found on the R 18 and R 18 Classic. In addition to the standard seat height, it offers diamond-shaped quilted embossing and an embroidered BMW logo and the 719 emblem on the side.
Option 719 Paint finish Galaxy Dust metallic/ Titanium Silver 2 metallic – Galaxy Dust metallic is a finish that changes in color spectrum from violet to turquoise blue, depending on the light. In addition, the color pigment creates a unique visual effect when exposed to sunlight. This special finish is combined with a Titanium Silver 2 metallic mirror on the fuel tank. The transition between the two-color surfaces consists of a hand-applied smoke effect familiar from the legendary R 90 S. In addition, the mirror surface is surrounded by a classic white double pin stripe.
Option 719 Wheels AERO and ICON – The two Option 719 wheels – AERO and ICON in matt silver and matt black, respectively, provide a refined and sophisticated look to the R 18 and R 18 Classic. The cast alloy wheels feature a six-spoke design. The milled ribs of the spokes are a real eye-catcher. The milled areas give the aluminum a contrast to the painted surfaces – hence the name Contrast Cut.
2022 BMW S 1000 R
Expected Availability: In dealers now
Base MSRP: $14,545
2022 BMW S 1000 XR
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $17,945
Color Schemes: Racing Red replaces Ice Grey as the standard color. New Black Storm Metallic 2 ($475) and Light White with M Package ($2,600) are optional colors.
M Package $2,600 Light White paint M Endurance Chain Sport Muffler M Sport Seat M Lightweight Battery Sport Windshield M Forged Wheels
Premium Package $2,650 Select Package contents GPS Prep USB Socket Hand Protection (new) Center Stand (new) Keyless Ride Dynamic ESA Pro Gear Shift Assist Pro Cruise Control Adaptive Headlight LED Auxiliary Lights
2022 BMW S 1000 RR
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $16,995
Color Schemes: Black Storm Metallic carries over as the standard color. Mineral Gray Metallic ($375) and Light White/Racing Blue/Racing Red ($2,250 with M Package) are optional colors.
Updated Upgrade Packages: Premium Package $2,825 Endurance Chain Sports Muffler Dynamic Damping Control Ride Modes Pro USB Socket Heated Grips Cruise Control TPM tire pressure monitor
. M Package $2,250 Blue M Brake Calipers (new) M Brake Calipers (new) Black Fuel Filler Cap (new) M GPS LapTrigger software (new) M Sport Seat Lightweight Battery Forged Wheels (new)
New 2022 BMW M 1000 RR
The new M RR uses the S 1000 RR’s water-cooled four-cylinder in-line engine with BMW ShiftCam technology for varying valve timing and valve lift that has been modified comprehensively. With a claimed peak power of 212 HP and maximum torque of 113 Nm, the M RR engine has undergone extensive technical optimization. Including new 2-ring forged pistons from Mahle, adapted combustion chambers, increased compression, longer and lighter titanium connecting rods from Pankl, slimmer and lighter rocker arms, fully machined intake ports with new duct geometry, as well as a titanium exhaust system.
In addition to a race specified engine, body styling has been heavily influenced by the track. M winglets and high windscreen promise later braking and earlier accelerating with more stability in the corners thanks to the aerodynamic downforce without increasing drag.
Other notable features include two adjustable characteristic throttle curves for optimum response characteristics, threefold adjustable engine braking, quickhifter, incorporated pit lane speed-limiter, hill start assistance, race inspired chassis design and geometry, optimized wheel load distribution and extended adjustability of the swinging arm pivot point. In addition the 6.5-inch TFT display with exclusive M logo animation and OBD interface that can be used with activation code for the M GPS data logger and M GPS laptrigger.
Expected Availability: Q4 2021
Base MSRP: $32,495
Color Schemes: Light White with M Package is solely available color.
Upgrade Package: All US models will be equipped withe the M Competition Package. M Brakes (new to BMW Motorrad) M Carbon Wheels M GPS Laptrigger Lightweight M Battery USB charging socket in the rear Integrated LED light units and heated grips Lightweight swinging arm DLC-coated M endurance chain Passenger package including tail-hump cover
Some motorcycle manufacturers have a difficult time accepting that Harley-Davidson’s 55-60% share of the cruiser motorcycle market in the U.S. is as much a result of cultural preference as it is affection for traditionally styled bikes. Americans love their cruisers and baggers, but these days mostly want them Made in the USA. Despite an exceptionally good run, the Japanese have pretty much thrown in the towel — with a couple exceptions there hasn’t been a new Japanese cruiser or bagger in a decade. As long as they’re selling lots of ADV, sport and sport-touring bikes, Germany and Italy haven’t paid much attention to our cruiser market, either. But every so often someone on the continent decides that they need a bigger chunk of the American motorcycle market, and out pops a Euro cruiser that either misses the styling dartboard completely or has an unacceptable engine layout. Or both.
BMW’s first attempt was with the R1200C, unveiled to gasps for the 1998 model year. Limited to the existing boxer engine and techy running gear like the Telelever front end and single-sided Monolever swingarm, the result was a nice enough motorcycle in terms of handling and features. But the opposed twin was too small and underpowered to compete in the seismic V-twin market, the ergonomics were weird, and the styling too, er, unconventional. Auf wiedersehn — its last model year was 2004.
This time might be different.
In creating the new R 18, to its credit once again BMW did not build a Harley clone, going so far as to boldly stamp the bike with the words, “Berlin Built.” The R 18 still uses a boxer engine instead of a V-twin, and this go-round BMW is fully committed to its iconic powerplant, taking care to highlight the advantages of a mid-mount footpeg position (active, upright seating, etc.) necessitated by the engine’s flat opposed cylinders versus feet forward. And BMW recognized that this time the engine needed to be big — really BIG. So the pair of 4.2-inch slugs and 100mm stroke in the Big Boxer give it a displacement of 1,802cc, or 110ci, which compares well with Harley’s 108s and Indian’s 111s.
To make it look right, BMW’s styling team stepped back into the company’s motorcycling history, taking cues from the 1930’s R5. “We took a deep look at our own museum, and we condensed these icons from the past, and found five super-important things that you will find all of on this bike,” said Edgar Heinrich, BMW’s head of motorcycle design. In fact it’s easy to see the R5 reflected in the R 18’s double-loop frame and swingarm that give it a modern hardtail cruiser look, as well as the teardrop 4.2-gallon fuel tank, exposed final drive shaft, metal fork shrouds, fishtail dual exhaust and pinstriped black paint on the R 18 First Edition. All of this is pleasingly mashed together with contemporary cruiser licks like bobbed fenders, a semi-slammed rear end and fat tube-type wheels and tires to create the first cruiser in BMW’s Heritage family. We’re told it’s not the last.
At 788 pounds fully fueled sitting on a long 68.1-inch wheelbase, the R 18 looks and feels overbuilt, like there’s a roomful of bagger and dresser bodywork tucked away somewhere just waiting to be hung on the sturdy platform. As befits a premium cruiser, BMW styled the R 18 mostly in metal — the engine and gearbox only account for 244 pounds, so we’re talking a whopping 520-pound rolling chassis minus the Big Boxer and a few options. Some parts like the wheels and levers are aluminum, but you’ll find very little plastic, and the tank, fenders, side covers, headlight, instrument and fork covers are all steel.
A little weight is attributable to the extra features on this First Edition (included in optional packages), such as the swath of chrome, heated grips, an alarm system, Reverse Assist (flip a lever, hit the starter button, backward you go) and Adaptive Headlight that illuminates the inside of corners. Electronic wizardry was kept to a minimum, though—riders overwhelmingly told BMW that this bike should not be a rolling computer. It still has Integral ABS of course, in which the front lever actuates both the strong front and rear ABS brakes, and the pedal just the rear. Switchable ASC or traction control, Motor Slip Reduction (MSR), a slipper clutch and Hill Start Control (eases starting out on inclines) are all onboard, and the R 18 has three playful ride modes, Rock, Roll and Rain. In addition to turning the volume up or down on the throttle response, changing modes alters the amount of ASC intervention, and even tweaks the idle. In Roll and Rain, it’s pretty tame, but in Rock at a stop, those howitzer-sized pistons waggle the handlebar and shimmy shimmy ko ko bop shake the bike side-to-side like a vibrating bed. Yet unlike a lot of fuel-injected bikes in the equivalent “sport” mode, throttle response is smooth and linear in Rock without abruptness, and comparatively boring in the other modes.
The R 18 wants to Rock right from startup, too. Quite often those big cylinders light off with a Womp!, and the engine rocks the bike strongly side-to-side — enough that it can yank the grips from your hands if you’re not ready for it. Eventually it settles into a nice loping idle, but when you twist the throttle in neutral or at lower speeds you can also feel the torque reaction of the longitudinal crankshaft rotate the bike slightly on its axis, like BMW boxers of yore. On the Jett Tuning dyno the Big Boxer set a new record for boxer torque at the rear wheel, with 109.2 lb-ft at 2,900 rpm, and 80.3 horsepower at 4,500 rpm. At speed the R 18 feels a lot like most big twins, with loads of torque right from idle that drops off quickly past 4,000 rpm. Redline is way up at 5,750 rpm, but you’ll spend far more time in the rev basement on this bike, short-shifting and enjoying the somewhat muted bark from its two fishtails. Especially since the seat and grips vibrate rather badly at anything above 3,000-3,200 rpm….
Perched with arms outstretched to the wide bar and feet comfortably on the mid-mount footpegs, the R 18’s seating position helps you fight the wind at speed, and at just 27.2 inches high the seat is an easy reach to the ground. Since there’s so little cornering clearance, footpegs drag early in corners, and the crankshaft torque reaction doesn’t really have a chance to detract from the bike’s handling. Which is about as good as you’d expect from such a big bike—slow and stable in corners and on the highway, heavy and ponderous at a walking pace or parking (thank goodness for that Reverse Assist), though tight U-turns can be mastered with some practice. That wide handlebar really helps maneuver the bike, though one grip can end up quite a reach at full lock. Of greater note is the suspension, which only offers spring preload adjustment in the rear and just 4.7/3.5 inches of travel front/rear. That’s not unusually short for a cruiser, and the punishing ride that results is no surprise either. It is eyebrow raising, though, that with all of BMW’s advanced suspension experience it didn’t give its first real cruiser some rear suspension comfortably on par with say, a 2014 Indian Chief. To make matters worse the stock seat is merely a seat-shaped rock — fortunately for anyone who actually wants to ride this bike accessory comfort seats are available.
BMW has given the R 18 adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a powerful twin LED headlight and LED brake/taillights integrated into the turn signals. The single instrument incorporates an analog speedometer and useful digital display with tachometer, trip computer and more, and there’s a handy electrical accessory socket behind the left cylinder. Pages upon pages of accessories hail the R 18’s arrival — there’s even a Bobber conversion and premium Roland Sands machined parts ready to go, as well as an Apehanger conversion with 21-inch front wheel. Knock yourself out, have fun storming the castle….
Obviously I’m of two minds regarding the R 18. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that the bike isn’t nicer to ride. Harsh rear suspension, minimal cornering clearance and heavy vibration can’t be cured with an accessory seat or chrome dingle balls. On the other, I think it’s a great-looking, badass, real-steel cruiser that rides its own path and makes no apologies for it. It also hides a lot of modern tech in a classic platform. “One of the hardest things to do is to develop a modern bike with a classic look, with no exposed wires, no sensors, no black box visible. It’s one of the biggest achievements for the designers,” said Heinrich. No doubt with the possible exception of the mufflers’ size (and keep in mind that the camera puts on 10 pounds), they nailed it.
2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Specs:
Base Price: $17,495 Price as Tested: $22,120 (Special Edition finish, Premium & Select Packages, Passenger Kit) Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles Website:bmwmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled opposed flat twin Displacement: 1,802cc Bore x Stroke: 107.1 x 100.0mm Compression Ratio: 9.6:1 Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl. Valve Insp. Interval: 6,000 miles Fuel Delivery: BMS-O EFI w/ 48mm throttle body Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt cap. Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch Final Drive: Shaft, 3.091:1
Chassis Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ tubular-steel double-sided swingarm Wheelbase: 68.1 in. Rake/Trail: 32.7 degrees/5.9 in. Seat Height: 27.2 in. Suspension, Front: 49mm telescopic fork w/ 4.7-in. travel Rear: Single cantilever shock, adj. for spring preload w/ 3.5-in. travel Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm discs w/ 4-piston opposed calipers Rear: Single 300mm disc w/ 4-piston opposed caliper Wheels, Front: Spoked, tube-type, 3.50 x 19 in. Rear: Spoked, tube-type, 5.0 x 16 in. Tires, Front: 120/70-BH19 Rear: 180/65-BH16 Wet Weight: 788 lbs. (as tested) Load Capacity: 447 lbs. (as tested) GVWR: 1,235 lbs.
Performance Horsepower: 80.3 Horsepower at 4,500 rpm Torque: 109.2 lb-ft. of torque at 2,900 rpm Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals., last 1.0-gal. warning light on MPG: 91 PON Min (low/avg/high) 30.3/34.2/38.2 Estimated Range: 144 miles Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,100
BMW has announced its virtually all-new 2021 BMW S 1000 R, which features a completely redesigned chassis and visual approach — farewell, bug-eye headlights. The Bavarian super-naked sportbike is powered by a 999cc in-line four-cylinder engine derived from the S 1000 RR superbike, claiming to produce 165 horsepower at 11,000 rpm. For more information about the new 2021 BMW S 1000 R, see the official press release below.
From Press Release:
“With our new S 1000 R, we have tried to preserve the strengths of its predecessor and to take into account the potentials known to us from press and customer feedback in the new S 1000 R. The team also made perfect use of the benefits provided by the new architecture”
Ralf Mölleken, Project Manager Complete Vehicle
Emotional roadster look combined with supersports riding dynamics – that’s what the new BMW S 1000 R is all about. Derived directly from the supersports S 1000 RR in the key areas engine and chassis, the dynamic roadster offers the same innovative technology. The close kinship to the “RR” can be seen from every angle. With its reduction to the essentials, the new S 1000 R offers unprecedented dynamic response. Thanks to its acceleration-optimised 121 kW (165 hp) peak output combined with the unrivalled low weight of 199 kg (DIN) as well as ABS Pro, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), full-scale LED lighting and much more as standard, the new S 1000 R once once again sets the benchmark in the dynamic roadster segment.
Newly developed, 5 kg lighter drive based on the S 1000 RR with adapted gear ratios, optimised mid-range power and engine drag torque control (MSR) as optional extras. The in-line four-cylinder is based on the engine of the S 1000 RR and generates 121 kW (165 hp) at 11 000 rpm. The maximum torque of 114 Nm is available at 9 250 rpm. The engine speed range was made even wider, fuller and more harmonious in terms of achieving even more improved rideability thanks to a particularly linear torque curve. In order to reduce the noise and fuel consumption levels as well as the engine speed level, especially at cruising speeds on country roads, the 4th, 5th and 6th gears now have longer gear ratios. In addition to a smoother, self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch, the new S 1000 R is equipped with engine drag torque control (MSR) for the first time as an optional extra. The engine drag torque control prevents the rear wheel from slipping as a result of abrupt throttling or downshifting thanks to being electronically controlled.
Completely new, lighter chassis based on the S 1000 RR with Flex Frame, Full Floater Pro kinematics, underslung swingarm and optimised ergonomics. The chassis was also subjected to significant weight reduction, just like the entire motorcycle. The frame and swingarm are based on the S 1000 RR and have been made considerably lighter in than their predecessor. At the same time, the engine in the so-called Flex Frame takes on a much greater supporting function than before. The new frame offers further benefits due to its very narrow design. This considerably reduces the motorcycle’s width in the area of the knee contact area, thereby offering a more relaxed riding position with even more freedom of movement. An adjustable handlebar clamp enables the rider to make ergonomic adaptations. Two positions are already available as standard: 0 mm / +10 mm towards the front. In addition, 10 mm handlebar riser mounts are offered as an option, which can also be turned in the direction of travel by 0 mm / +10 mm.
The underslung swingarm has been taken over from the S 1000 RR and the spring strut with Full Floater Pro kinematics is now located significantly further away from the swing axis and the engine. This prevents the engine from heating up due to waste heat and ensures even more stable temperature behaviour and even more constant damping response. In combination with the swingarm, which has its roots in motorsports, this results in more tyre grip and lower tyre wear.
Three riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and ABS Pro as standard. Optional equipment “Riding Modes Pro” with riding mode “Dynamic Pro”, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), engine drag torque control (MSR, “Engine Brake” and “Power Wheelie”. The new S 1000 R is equipped as standard with Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro with banking angle optimization and the three riding modes “Rain”, “Road” and “Dynamic”. The fully configurable “Dynamic Pro” mode is also available with a particularly wide range of setting options as part of the “Riding Modes Pro” option. With “Riding Modes Pro”, the new S 1000 R also features the “Engine Brake” function in conjunction with the engine drag torque control (MSR) and the “Power Wheelie” function. As part of the “Riding Modes Pro” option, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) additionally supports the rider during emergency braking maneuvers.
Multifunctional instrument cluster with 6.5-inch TFT screen for excellent readability and maximum range of information. The new S 1000 R’s instrument cluster was also taken over from the S 1000 RR. Special emphasis was placed on the best possible readability in addition to an extended range of functions and information. The screen was therefore designed to be large for good readability and optimum information display even under difficult lighting conditions. The rider can choose between customised screen displays for various purposes. The Pure Ride Screen, for example, provides all the necessary information for normal road riding, while a further Core Screen shows displays for banking angle, deceleration and traction control. A bluetooth smartphone interface which allows app-based arrow navigation is already included as standard. The TFT display is operated comfortably from the handlebars using the multi-controller. The optional M package provides a third Core Screen with bar display and lap timer.
New LED headlamp and powerful LED light units as standard. Headlight Pro with adaptive turning light and iconic light guides with daytime running light function as an optional extra ex works. The lighting units of the new S 1000 R are based on state-of-the-art LED technology. These include the new, striking LED main headlamp with optimised low beam and high beam light. The newly designed turn indicator and rear lights also make use of LED technology. The rear turn indicators have been adopted from the S 1000 RR and feature an integrated tail/brake light function. The front turn indicators are “hidden” in the fork area. Enhanced safety when riding at night is ensured by the adaptive turning light which is a component of Headlight Pro as an ex works option. In this case, further LED modules are added. The rider benefits from improved road illumination when cornering to make riding at night even safer.
New, even more dynamic design in an attractive basic colour and two exclusive style variants. In its latest edition, the S 1000 R also clearly borrows from its supersports counterpart, the S 1000 RR, but placing the emphasis on its character as a dynamic roadster. To a greater extent than previously, the “tail up – nose down” look gives the S 1000 R an eye-catchingly dynamic visual impact with its new body elements. The colour concept also highlights the sporty, dynamic appearance of the new S 1000 R. In addition to the basic colour Racingred non-metallic, the options Style Sport and the M package with additional product content are available.
The highlights of the new BMW S 1000 R:
• 5 kg lighter, newly developed 4-cylinder in-line engine based on the S 1000 RR with further optimised mid-range power and rideability as well as new gear ratios in 4th – 6th gear.
• Lightest dynamic roadster in its class: Weight reduction by 6.5 kg to 199 kg DIN empty weight or 202 kg including comfort and dynamics package. The M package reduces the vehicle weight by another 4.8 kg (2 kg with forged wheels / 3.7 kg with carbon fibre wheels).
• Superior output and torque: 121 kW (165 hp) at 11 000 rpm and 114 Nm at 9 250 rpm.
• At least 90 Nm of torque available from 5 500 to 12 000 rpm. More than 80 Nm already available from 3 000 rpm.
• Effort-saving, linear torque curve: Even better rideability across the entire engine speed range.
• Newly developed suspension featuring the “Flex Frame”, with the engine taking on more of a load-bearing function.
• Significantly improved ergonomics thanks to the “Flex Frame” allowing the rider to have his knees closer to the motorycyle body.
• Underslung swingarm with Full Floater Pro kinematics and new suspension strut for even more sensitive response and optimised rear wheel grip.
• New, lighter exhaust system, EU5 compliant.
• New 6-axis sensor box for precisely determining the pitch rate and anti-wheelie function.
• ABS Pro for even more safety when braking, also in banking position, as standard. Dedicated rain brake mode with flatter brake pressure gradient. ABS Pro as standard for even safer braking when cornering.
• WSBK proven DynamicTraction Control (DTC) as standard ensures even greater stability when accelerating.
• Three riding modes “Rain”, “Road” and “Dynamic” as standard.
• DTC wheelie function as standard.
• Riding Modes Pro with additional “Dynamic Pro” mode including adjustable wheelie control, engine brake and engine drag torque control (MSR) as well as Launch Control, Pitlane Limiter and Hillstart Control Pro as ex works options.
• Hillstart Control as standard.
• Shift Assistant Pro for quick up and down shifting without using the clutch available ex works.
• New instrument cluster with 6.5 inch, easy-to-read TFT display including additional sports screens, arrow navigation and connectivity.
• New LED headlamp and LED light units as standard.
• Adaptive Turning Light and daytime running light in Headlight Pro package available as an option ex works.
• Completely newly designed body elements for even more dynamic styling.
• Attractive basic colour and two style variants available from start of production.
• Expansion of the Original BMW Motorrad Accessories and optional extra range, including M package, Carbon package and Milled Parts package ex works.
The 2021 BMW G 310 R has been announced with a few notable changes to BMW’s entry-level roadster. For the 2021 model year, the G 310 R will feature a throttle-by-wire, a slipper clutch, a new LED headlight and indicators, adjustable levers and a mild aesthetic refresh. MSRP has not been revealed yet. See the official press release below for more information.
From Press Release:
With its powerful, dynamic single-cylinder, the appearance in 2015 of the BMW G 310 R opened up the world of BMW Motorrad’s Dynamic Roadster for the capacity segment under 500 cm3. Quick and agile in the city, confident and powerful on the open road – as a result, the lively, purposeful Dynamic Roadster delighted many customers all over the world, especially newcomers. In order to sustain this going forward, BMW Motorrad has made the BMW G 310 R fit for the future and afforded it a range of enhancements.
Single-cylinder engine according to EU-5 homologation with automatic idle boost, electromotive throttle controller and self-boosting anti-hopping clutch.
The heart of the new BMW G 310 R is still the reliable 313 cm3 liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with four valves, two overhead camshafts and electronic fuel injection. The cylinder inclination to the rear and the cylinder head rotated by 180 degrees with intake at the front and exhaust at the rear remain the design characteristics. This
arrangement follows the logic of optimal combustion air ducting and results in a particularly compact vehicle architecture. With an output of 25 kW (34 HP) at 9 500 rpm and a maximum torque of 28 Nm at 7 500 rpm, the single-cylinder engine of the new BMW G 310 R is the ideal partner for dynamic Roadster pleasure, including in the current EU 5 homologation.
For use in the new BMW G 310 R, the engine has been equipped with a so-called “electronic throttle grip” (electromotive throttle controller) and now offers an even more sensitive throttle response. Automatic idle speed increase when starting also prevents a possible sudden stalling of the engine. The self-boosting anti-hopping clutch is also new. It reduces engine drag torque and provides a significant increase in driving safety – particularly during braking manoeuvres involving simultaneous downshifting. It also offers significantly reduced operating forces at the clutch lever.
New LED headlight and LED flashing turn indicators – seeing and being seen optimally.
Whereas the BMW G 310 R was already equipped with brake lights in LED technology, the new BMW G 310 R now has a full-LED headlight for even better visibility at night and LED flashing turn indicators for increased visibility in traffic. The new LED headlight ensures particularly bright and homogeneous illumination of the road. The three light functions high beam, low beam and – depending on the country – daytime driving light can be conveniently operated using the left handlebar controls.
Hand lever adjustable in four stages for brake and clutch.
Both, the clutch lever and the handbrake lever are now adjustable in four stages. It thus now provides ergonomic benefits – particularly for people with small hands. Stage 3 of the brake lever adjustment corresponds to the grip width until now. In the 1st position the brake lever is 6 mm closer to the handlebar.
Softly reimagined design with two attractive base colours and the exclusive “Sport” style option.
Dynamics and agility are also reflected in the design of the new BMW G 310 R. Here the visual similarity to sporty family members like the BMW S 1000 R is unmistakeable. This is also reflected in the colour scheme of the Dynamic Roadster. What all three colour options of the BMW G 310 R have in common are the engine housing covers for the alternator, clutch and coolant pump as well as footrest plate and rear grab handle, now painted in Titanium Grey Metallic.
Besides the base colour, Cosmic Black, and accentuated masculine touch, another base colour option, Polar White, is now available, which together with blue painted accents represents the traditional BMW corporate colours in a fresh, dynamic way. In Sport style with the base colour, Limestone Metallic, eye-catching red “R” graphic on the fairing side panels and red frame and wheels, the new BMW G 310 R confidently reveals its sporty side.
All new features of the BMW G 310 R at a glance:
• Single-cylinder engine according to EU-5 homologation with electromotive throttle controller and automatic idle speed increase.
• Self-boosting anti-hopping clutch.
• New LED headlight and LED flashing turn indicators.
• Hand lever adjustable in four stages for brake and clutch.
• Engine housing covers for the alternator, clutch and coolant pump as well as footrest plate and rear grab handle painted in Titanium Grey Metallic.
• Softly reimagined design with two attractive base colours and the exclusive style option “Sport” with red as accent colour.
With its competition hard on the gas and more stringent Euro 5 emissions, noise and durability regulations looming on the 2020 horizon, for the 2019 model year BMW revamped all five of its boxer motorcycle models powered by the liquid-cooled flat-opposed twin. Bumped from 1,170cc to 1,254cc with a larger bore and longer stroke, the DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder boxers also received a form of variable valve timing (VVT) that increases power, broadens the powerband, improves fuel economy and lowers emissions and the required fuel AKI from 89 to 87.
Cost and limited space on motorcycles make VVT more common in the automotive world, and to date it’s only been used in a few Japanese and Italian motorcycle models to open additional intake valves or increase intake valve lift and duration at higher engine speeds. BMW’s Shift Cam VVT is unique in that it slides or “shifts” the boxer engine’s intake cams left or right, engaging either a partial or full-load cam lobe under certain loads at low speeds, or at 5,000 rpm regardless. The shift happens in milliseconds so it’s undetectable, but the result is a noticeable improvement in smooth grunt at low rpm and more power on top. The last Shift Cam R 1250 we tested in 2019 — which has an identical engine to the R 1250 R reviewed here — made 121.5 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 92.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,600 at the rear wheel, a significant improvement of about 14% on both counts over the last R 1200 engine we ran on the Jett Tuning dyno.
The R 1250 R is the lightest of the five R 1250 models (a claimed 527 pounds wet for the base model, or 545 pounds gussied up with $4,645 worth of optional equipment like our test bike), so the additional power and broader powerband of the Shift Cam engine make a noticeable difference in the bike’s fun factor. Acceleration is crisp right off idle, and power builds gradually and is easily modulated at low speeds in any gear or riding mode. Once the revs break about 5,250 rpm the urge comes on urgently, until the engine is ripping hard near its 9,000-rpm redline. Whether two-up touring or solo sport riding, solid, usable midrange or screaming top-end power is never more than a downshift away. There’s no detectable flat spot or surge from the Shift Cam doing its thing at 5,000 rpm or anywhere else, just loads of smooth drive and great sound from the single muffler that ranges from purring kitten to racing twin. Some vibration creeps into the grips at higher engine speeds, but it’s of the low-frequency, twin-cylinder variety that isn’t intrusive, especially since you’ll need to be shifting quite soon at that point.
In addition to a special Option 719 seat and paint, our R 1250 R tester came equipped with the $2,950 Select package, which bundles hardware options like a centerstand, heated grips, TPMS, Keyless Ride, cruise control, saddlebag mounts, GPS prep and a chrome muffler. It also includes Gear Shift Assist Pro, an up/down quickshifter that works smoothly and easily between most gears except 1st and 2nd, where shifts are too abrupt to go without using the clutch lever. Power gets to the back via BMW’s Paralever shaft final drive, which reduces maintenance chores and keeps throttle changes from affecting the rear suspension.
We like BMW’s largest Roadster model primarily for its simple versatility. The R 1250 R’s seat height is moderate and can be dropped further with a low seat option; the seating position is slightly sporty but comfortable for long rides, with just enough forward lean to fight the wind; and its somewhat wide handlebar and sport-standard running gear lend it to just about every type of riding, from sport-touring (perhaps adding a windscreen and saddlebags) to commuting to sport riding. Our test bike was shod with premium Metzeler Roadtec Z8 17-inch radial tires that grip well and enhance agility, and the bike returns quick, neutral handling to any sort of steering inputs. It helps a lot that the super strong triple disc brakes, USD front and single shock rear suspension are up to any task (in our experience even on the base bike, which has the same fork and adjustable spring preload and rebound damping in the rear only).
Standard equipment also includes two ride modes, Rain and Road; ASC or basic traction control, Integral ABS (linked ABS brakes) and Hill Start Control, which holds the bike at a stop for you on inclines to ease starting out. Software upgrades in the Select package add ABS Pro and Dynamic Traction Control, which enable both at lean angles as well as straight up. Select also adds Ride Modes Pro, which brings Dynamic and Dynamic Pro riding modes (essentially sportier and customizable braking and traction intervention settings), Dynamic Brake Control, which prevents throttle application when the rear brake is applied, and automatic Hill Start Control Pro.
Suffice to say that I sampled most of this stuff and it all works quite well, especially ABS Pro, which keeps the bike from standing up while braking hard in corners. Perhaps the best aspect of the Select package is Dynamic ESA, or electronic suspension adjustment, which BMW has simplified on the 2020 boxer models to the choice of Road or Dynamic damping settings switchable on the fly, and Auto, Maximum or Minimum rear preload, which must be changed at a stop. Auto keeps the ride height correct in back regardless of the load and does its job well but firmly — when I wanted a softer ride and the lowest seat height I switched to Minimum. Dynamic damping mode keeps the bike well controlled in the corners with my 200 pounds and some gear aboard, but was too stiff for commuting, where I found Road mode was more comfortable. The damping changes accordingly when the riding mode is changed, but can be easily overridden with a switch on the left bar.
This is also home to BMW’s slick Multi Controller wheel for the menus and selections on the R 1250 R’s large 6.5-inch TFT display, the optional GPS unit and the BMW Motorrad Connected navigation app. In addition to vehicle and maintenance monitoring and a robust trip computer, the multifunction display offers Bluetooth smartphone, headset and media connectivity. There’s definitely a learning curve involved, but the display is super bright and easy to read, and once you figure out the basic controls and selections the rest is pretty intuitive.
Thoughtful details on the R 1250 R are easy to take for granted, but I came to appreciate them a lot living with the bike. Convenient right-angle metal valve stems are threaded into a spoke on each cast wheel, for example, where they’re easier to access. Both the clutch and brake lever are adjustable, and despite having halogen bulbs, the standard dual headlight is excellent night and day (as is, I presume, the LED taillight). I like having actual buttons versus electronic menu selections for the heated grips and riding modes, and the optional Keyless Ride system and its fob greatly simplify starting the bike, getting gas and locking the steering. Fuel economy is way up with the Shift Cam engine, too — though our average mpg is only 42.0 thanks to some spirited riding and lost receipts, we regularly saw upwards of 50 mpg on the trip computer, which would give the 4.8-gallon tank terrific range on regular gas.
No doubt many riders overlook the BMW R 1250 R roadster for its sexier, broader-based GS, RS and RT siblings, but even without all of the bells and whistles in the Select package (if you can find a bike without it), the R 1250 R is quite possibly the simpler, better choice for a lot of riders who don’t need more weight and complication in their lives. Isn’t that most of us?