Every year, around November, my buyer’s remorse shoots through the roof. Just as the Holidays approach, trade shows like Intermot and EICMA showcase the latest and greatest motorcycles on the market. With each year, my daily rider—huddled in my garage—looks more and more like an artifact of a bygone era, a relic primed for the trade-in.
It’s no different this year, what with new ADVs, sport/naked bikes, retros, electrics, and scooters luring us to the showroom floor. Whether it’s with electronic wizardry, nostalgic looks, or ever-climbing horsepower figures, manufacturers keep finding ways to make motorcyclists lust after the next big thing. As 2022 draws to a close, these are the five bikes that I’m buying looking forward to in 2023.
2023 Honda XL750 Transalp
Honda may be late to the middleweight class's parallel-twin party, but the XL750 Transalp seems like it's worth the wait. Packing a liquid-cooled, SOHC, 755cc engine, Big Red’s latest ADV joins the hotly-contested middleweight ADV segment with enough pep to challenge for the throne. We’re talking 90 horsepower and 55 lb-ft of torque, which outpaces many rivals in the category.
Team Red surrounds that punchy twin with a lightweight steel-diamond frame, long-travel suspension, and a 21-inch front wheel. In true Honda fashion, the Transalp also boasts Five ride modes (Sport, Standard, Rain, Gravel, and Custom), wheelie control, five-level traction control, three-setting engine compression braking, and two ABS options. The five-inch TFT display puts all those options at the user’s fingertips, making the XL750 an instant contender in 2023.
2023 MV Agusta Superveloce 1000 Serie Oro
MV Agusta played hooky at this year’s EICMA. While most manufacturers attended the show like jocks at the prom, MV put on an afterparty for the ages. Held at the firm’s Milan retail space, the Italian showed up the entire trade show with the arrival of the limited-edition Superveloce 1000 Serie Oro.
The neo-retro sportbike slots above the immensely popular Superveloce 800 and share much of its hardware with the Brutale 1000 RR. That includes a 998cc inline-four responsible for 208 horsepower (at 13,000 rpm) and 86 pound-feet of torque (at 11,000 rpm) along with Öhlins Nix EC fork and EC TTX monoshock. Despite the throwback plastics, MV gives in to peer pressure by adding aerodynamic winglets to the flagship Superveloce. Yet another entry in the ever-expanding retro racer category, we can’t wait to see whether collectors embrace the Serie Oro.
2023 Honda CL500
Those searching for a more pragmatic option need look no further than Honda’s CL500. Based on the little cruiser that could, the Rebel 500, Big Red made some big changes for the latest entry in the CL series. The 41mm fork now offers 5.9 inches of travel and dual shocks at the rear end yield 5.7 inches of available stroke. A 19-inch wheel fore and a 17-inch hoop aft complete the transformation, lifting the CL500 to a 6.1-inch ground clearance and 31.1-inch seat height.
Honda’s aesthetic treatment also aligns with the CL500’s scrambler ambitions. Fork gaiters, tank knee pads, a bench seat, and a high-mounted exhaust perfectly plays into hallmark scrambler styling while staying true to the platform’s modern underpinnings. Team Red even updates its water-cooled, 471cc parallel twin for on- and off-road duty with 46 horsepower and 32 lb.-ft. of torque. Can a cruiser turned scrambler actually take on today’s top modern-classics? We’ll find out in 2023.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE
It’s safe to say that Suzuki is psyched on its new parallel-twin platform. The House of Hamamatsu announced its 2023 GSX-8S middleweight naked bike and 2023 V-Strom 800DE in tandem at EICMA 2022. However, the all-new parallel-twin doesn’t exactly fall in line with the V-twin-powered V-Strom 650 and V-Strom 1050.
Still, the 776cc powerplant touts a 270-degree crank that imitates the iconic V-twin power pulse and exhaust note. That mimic of a mill is responsible for 84.3 horsepower and 57.7 lb-ft of torque (EU model). With 8.7 inches of travel (at both ends), 8.8 inches of ground clearance, and a 33.7-inch seat height make the 800DE’s off-road aspirations known. Will all that capability win over the V-Strom's V-twin enthusiasts? 2023 will tell.
2023 BMW M 1000 R
The BMW S 1000 R commonly ranks as one of the most pragmatic supernakeds in the category. In a segment where 200+ horsepower and winglets have become the norm, the S 1000 R kept feasibility top of mind. With 165 horsepower and road-friendly ergonomics, the single-R prized its approachability and practicality. BMW tosses that out the window in 2023 with the debut of the M 1000 R.
Make way for winglets and a 205-horsepower inline-four engine. While that may seem overkill for the roadway, the model’s aluminum forged wheels and manually-adjustable suspension adapt the M 1000 R to life on the streets. In classic BMW fashion, though, customers can also arm the supernaked with carbon wheels, a passenger seat cover, and a GPS lap timer. With both the S 1000 R and M 1000 R in the Bavarian lineup, we can’t wait to see which top-tier naked takes the streusel in 2023.