Now that 2019 is in full swing and much of the country is in the throes of a polar vortex-induced malaise, motorcyclists have ample time to consider the important things—namely which new motorcycles are the biggest deals of the year. Or better yet: which to buy. What would the off-season be without a little motorcycle shopping?
With more types of motorcycles available than ever before, 2019 is shaping up to be a great year. But considering the none-too-encouraging state of bike sales in the US, OEMs are cutting margins pretty fine. We think the following motorcycles are the most important of the year—both for the motorcycle world in general and for OEMs struggling with their bottom lines. And we can’t wait to ride all of them.
Coming soon to a dealership near year:
2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
It’s been a little while since there’s been an all-new Moto Guzzi worth really getting excited about. We haven’t ridden the V85 TT yet, but from the looks of it, Guzzi has brought something totally unique to the adventure-tourer space. By balancing modern tech, the utility of the form factor, a pretty reasonable $12,999 MSRP (base), and Guzzi’s signature unconventional retro-ness, the V85 TT could appeal to a relatively large cross section of riders. If it delivers the goods, it just might bring Moto Guzzi back into the mainstream motorcycling conversation.
2019 KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure R is at the opposite end of the Adventure spectrum than the Guzzi. Has there ever been an ADV bike that schews so off-road? Leave it to the Austrians to make a no-holds-barred ADV middleweight. While the competition’s bikes make nice with the rider, the KTM will probably make you feel bad about yourself unless you’re capable of riding it down cliff faces and jumping off dunes. If the package is enticing, but you see yourself sticking more to the pavement, the non-R version is for you. The ever-expanding 790 platform is proof that KTM wants to have a bike for every rider. If rumors of a 500cc twin are to be believed, the moto world may soon have a strong orange tint.
2019 BMW S1000RR
When the original S1000RR was released a decade ago, it was the first time BMW had flexed its performance muscles in some time. Pre-S1000RR, there were many of us who thought BMWs were about as hip and edgy as James Taylor and turtleneck sweaters. Maybe it was my youthful prejudice, but it seemed like BMWs were only ridden by guys who put dirty lambswool cushions on their saddles and held their pants up with suspenders. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. When The S1000RR came out doing its best GSX-R1000 K5 impression, you could once again see BMWs ridden by, um, young people. The ’19 S1000RR is going to be a contender. It will remind us all that BMW knows how to design for speed. We can’t wait to see it in Tom Sykes’ hands this year in World SBK.
2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R
There’s a special place for R-spec Ducatis in the motorcycle world. And Ducati thinks that’s on the top step of the podium. The two-cylinder Panigale never won a World SBK title—the first superbike from Bologna to achieve such a distinction—which is why I’m selling my own Panigale. Kidding. Make no mistake: Ducati built the V4 to bring the SBK crown back to Bologna. The homologation-special V4 R—complete with aerodynamic winglets, revised chassis, and all sorts of moto-fetish-worthy bits and bobs—is Ducati’s gauntlet thrown. The V4 R has a massive point to prove. Will it be enough to loosen Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea’s grip on the championship?
2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
It’s been five years since Harley-Davidson brought the wraps off the LiveWire concept bike. Now here we are and you can actually buy the thing. For $29,799. With that price tag, it’s hard to ignore that the LiveWire’s purpose is more about redefining the Bar and Shield’s image for future generations than it is about sales numbers. At this stage, it’s more important for the thing to actually exist than it is for it to be affordable. The affordable ones will come. Right now, it’s all about building it so they will come.
2019 Indian FTR 1200
Indian’s FTR750-inspired tracker is the modern company’s first foray into performance territory. With a 1,203cc engine derived from the Scout—that weighs 40 pounds less and makes a claimed 120 hp—the FTR 1200) could be quite the thing. Indian pretty much ravaged the American Flat Track field with its factory racebike. Now it’s time to see what it can muster bearing the shackles of emissions standards, homologation requirements, and a $13,499 MSRP (for the base model). Here’s hoping it’s the first of many performance bikes from Indian.
2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701
Husqvarna is one of the oldest names in all of motorcycling. But to the average American, Husqvarna is better known for chain saws and garden tractors. Which is to say, there’s a lot riding on every bike it releases. There’s just not a lot of room for missteps in today’s competitive marketplace. Fortunately, KTM’s single-cylinder powerplant is a gem and Husqvarna’s styling is quickly making a niche for itself. The Svartpilen 701 looks fantastic on paper. We can’t wait to see it in the flesh and take one for a spin.
Anything else? Feel free to add your own opinion in the comments section below.