2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
The Ducati Scrambler 800 is such a delight. You’re looking at a bike that has a real Italian personality without all the mood swings. It looks particularly good in its flat track-inspired Full Throttle livery, a version of the Scrambler introduced in October 2018 alongside the Café Racer and the Desert Sled.
The 803cc Desmodromic L-twin mill that powers the Scrambler is flexible and versatile. The bike was a hoot on the highway and held its own off the paved roads—despite wearing the wrong type of tires. Fun ride, great versatility, and a look that stands out from the crowd—that's why the Scrambler Full Throttle deserves a spot among our favorites.
2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is a towering technological achievement, one that Harley-Davidson should be proud of and one that all Harley fans—hardcore and casual alike—should applaud. It’s also one-hundred percent the wrong bike for Harley right now.
It’s incredibly fast, surprisingly agile, and packed full of interesting technology. It goes, stops, and moves, unlike any Harley you’ve ever ridden. It has fantastic lines and the ergonomics are nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, at $30K and with a, shall we say, misguided sales strategy we’re not entirely sure who, or what, this bike is for. The good outweighs the bad, however, and despite an apparent lack of focus in the marketing strategy, the bike remains phenomenal and deserving of a spot in our list.
2019 Yamaha YZF-R3
Tiny but mighty are the words that come to mind with the Yamaha YZF-R3. Yamaha thoroughly reviewed and updated its tiny sportbike for 2019, wringing more juice out of the tiny 321cc parallel-twin engine and fine-tuning its performance in the process. It worked!
I had personally been left a little underwhelmed by 300s in the past but the new R3 made small bikes great again.
2019 Triumph Speed Twin
Triumph wrapped up its 2018 year by unveiling the all-new Speed Twin in December. Part Thruxton, part Bonneville T120, the Speed Twin took a little bit of everything that makes the two iconic models good and combined it into one hot-looking package.
While it initially all sounded like the usual marketing spiel, the bike turned out to be as good as Triumph said it was. Surprise, surprise. It’s safe to say that the 2019 Speed Twin became my personal new favorite of the year—in case the love letter I wrote about it doesn't make that obvious.
2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
This is one of the bikes introduced in 2019 that got a lot of people talking and buzzing. As soon as we got a look at the gorgeous yellow livery with its contrasting red trellis frame, we were sold.
It turned out that the hype was justified. Moto Guzzi knocked it out of the ballpark with the 2019 V85 TT. Not only is the bike gorgeous but it also proved to be a great ride. I got to put the new model through its paces on twisties and on some mild off-road and its versatility instantly won me over. This is a bike I want in my garage.
2019 Kawasaki Z400
Jason rode Kawasaki’s small-displacement naked in late February 2019, and aside from the bike heroically saving his life at one point, he found it zippy, buzzy, and a whole lot of fun.
“The Z400 is eager, competent, and a bit unrefined—like a busy, aggressive, fun-loving terrier. Not unrefined in a fit and finish way, but I think that by building to a price point (which isn't a bad thing) and in keeping with the whole aggressive naked bike sugomi thing, Kawasaki neglected to smooth out some of the bike's rougher edges.”
He gave the bike a solid B, which is pretty good for a slightly rough-edged beginner bike, and was once again impressed by Team Green’s fit, finish, build quality, and dedication to building fun bikes at every price point.
2020 Zero SR/F
There was a lot to be excited and curious about when Zero Motorcycles unveiled its first performance-oriented model in February 2019. The 2020 SR/F introduced a new type of silhouette to the electric lineup and for the first time, the company got to have some fun with its electric powertrain. The new SR/F was announced with surprising power figures, rated at 110 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque.
In August following the model’s introduction, we got to bring one home and keep it for a month. This was the occasion for us to discover and document what life with an electric motorcycle was really like. I’m very proud of the resulting Zero Chronicles that allowed me to test different aspects of the Zero SR/F. While the bike itself has a lot to offer, the overall experience is what makes it so special and deserving of a spot on our list of favorites.