Yamaha XSR XTribute
How dare you, Yamaha? How dare you? First, you discontinue the SR400 which, okay, I understand that. It was old and couldn't keep up with Euro4. That's fine. Then, you go and roll this thing out at EICMA 2018 and not only call it a tribute to the legendary TX500 but you also call it a scrambler? The gall. The barefaced cheek.
All this thing is is an XSR700—admittedly, a fantastic bike—with a silver paint job and some knobby tires. It doesn't even have an upswept exhaust from the factory, that's an option! Look, you can't discontinue a perfectly good single-cylinder motorcycle then release a tarted-up twin and call it a tribute to the TX500 which is, as we all know, God's own thumper. Then, to call that tarted-up twin a scrambler? That's madness.
Yamaha, why didn't you develop an actual new 500cc single and sell it as a tribute to the TX500? You had all the tools at hand to do so? You already knew how to make the SR400, you had a single right there! Bore it out, tune it, put a really real scrambler frame around it, y voila! I shouldn't have to tell you this. You're Yamaha, you know how to do this!
Triumph Bonneville Ace
Triumph, you are better than this. You know what a café racer is. Hell, the only other name as synonymous with cafe racers as yours is BSA, and that company is dead. You're the boss of café racers. The OG, as it were. Why, then, did you release a bike called the Ace—an obvious tribute to the Ace Café where the whole café racer thing started—that is clearly not a café racer?
What makes a café racer? Clip-ons, a skinny saddle, a cowl on the back, maybe some rearsets, right? You know what doesn't make a café racer? Stock Bonneville handlebars, a paint job, gaiters, a special "Ace Café" sticker on the sidecover, and a couple extra grand slapped on the Bonneville's price tag.
I'm absolutely speechless at the cheek it took to paint a stock Bonneville gray, slap an Ace Café sticker on it, and call it a café racer. It's not like you don't know how to build a proper café racer! I've ridden the Thruxton! This is just lazy. It's a "special edition" that's not very special at all and, as an additional insult, isn't even true to the spirit it's trying to capture. Seriously, try harder next time.
Oh, Harley. Harley, Harley, Harley. Look, I'm not disappointed in the LiveWire itself. In fact, I think it rules and I really want to thrash one around and see what it's all about. It's awesome looking and exciting and I think it's an excellent way forward for the company. What I'm disappointed in is, well, *gestures at EICMA presentation* everything else.
How long have we been waiting for the LiveWire? Four years? Our own Jessie Kiser rode one way back in December of 2014. We've waited all this time with bated breath for the LiveWire while a whole electric bike industry developed and cornered the market. Zeroes and Energicas flooded the streets—well, for various metrics of "flooded" I guess—and there was still no LiveWire. Battery and controller technology evolved at a breakneck pace, and still no LiveWire.
Then there was The Big Announcement where Harley unveiled an ADV bike concept, a streetfighter, and finally, confirmed the LiveWire was coming to market. So we waited some more, content in the knowledge that LiveWire was being announced at EICMA. When time came for the unveiling, we were ready, we watched, and we were sorely disappointed.
You guys spent all that money to fly the LiveWire to Milan to make an announcement in which you told us nothing new about that bike? Really? Get it together, Harley. Just give us the LiveWire already! No more waiting, no more games, just a million cool electric bikes with the bar and shield on 'em. You can do it Harley, you just have to, you know, do it.
This thing. Okay, let me get this straight: The ARC Vector is a roughly $120,000 motorcycle from a company no one's heard of before. It has a claimed top speed of 150 miles per hour, prototype battery cells that are apparently unlike anything the world has ever seen, and it comes with both a smart helmet and a smart jacket. Oh, and we've never seen it in full light since the pictures are all super moody single-light-source images shot in a dark studio against a dark background, a shooting style that very conveniently hides all the details.
Guys, this thing just screams vaporware. I very much doubt we'll ever see any of those planned 300-ish bikes a year, and if we do they probably won't be anywhere near as cool as is being promised. ARC may as well promised us that the bike'll drive itself and make us breakfast in the morning, that'd be more believable. I'll eat my hat if this thing ever sees the light of day.
Royal Enfield Concept KX
Let me start by saying that I'm not disappointed in the Concept KX itself. It rules. I love everything about it, from its weird front end to that chunky V-twin to the flush-mounted LED tail light. The exhaust is awesome, the bobber lines and old-timey tank look fantastic, and British Racing Green is always a good choice. It's like Royal Enfield made this thing specifically for me and just me. It is, in a word, awesome.
So, why is it on the list of most disappointing bikes at EICMA? BECAUSE I CAN'T BUY IT RIGHT NOW THAT'S WHY! Seriously, if Royal Enfield builds the KX I'll be there on day one, first in line, with a fistful of Benjamins ready to ride away on one. It'll be my first Royal Enfield, I'll ride it 'til I die, then I'll be buried with it.
Royal Enfield, I'm begging you, with tears in my eyes, build me a KX and I'll love you forever.