It was a great year last year. There were a lot of new bikes and exciting things that manufacturers did on two wheels, but looking forward, here are my top five most anticipated models to come.
On a more personal note, after adding another bike to the garage, I feel I’m pretty much done for 2023 in terms of the number of motorcycles I will keep. Given the current economic climate and the status of my bank account, two is plenty and way more than I ever need. However, I’ve filled the garage with nothing but middleweight road-goers. With that being said, I feel that there is room for a scooter or adventure/sport tourer somewhere in the future, and who knows, maybe I’ll end 2023 with yet another bike to add to the collection, and this time I’m pretty sure it won’t be a sporty naked bike—no promises.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my top five incoming motorcycles for 2023.
Well, I did say no promises, right? Surprise, it’s another middleweight naked bike. The Suzuki GSX-8S has become an important new model for the Japanese brand. It has an all-new parallel-twin engine with more horsepower and torque than the venerable Yamaha MT-07. Because of this, and given that I am a fan of Team Blue’s streetfighting hooligan machine, the Suzuki GSX-8S is shaping up to be a rather intriguing entry in the middleweight segment.
Honestly speaking, however, I am not totally sold on the design of the GSX-8S, but what’s interesting and what excites me is that it is a sort of spiritual successor to the SV650, a bike that I also once considered before I settled in with Team Red’s CB650R. Another question is, “why not Honda’s CB750 Hornet instead? Aren’t you more excited about that?” While I am excited about the Hornet, I find that Suzuki’s interpretation had a bit more gravitas to it, given that it’s been a while since the brand has come up with something new, and the fact that the new motor has a lot to prove given that it has to live up to the SV650’s reputation.
Honda Hawk 11
Alright, let’s move away from sport naked bikes, and let’s get into sportier naked bikes. The Honda Hawk 11. The Hawk 11 is a gorgeous neo-retro racer that was only made available in Japan. There’s still no confirmation about its export to other countries, and that makes me a bit sad. Honda’s (for now) hiding a real gem in its home country, and I really hope and pray that Team Red will be able to bring this model to the rest of the world.
The moment that availability in my locale is announced, I’m hopping on the test ride list, but news of the model has since stagnated. My fingers are still crossed, though. Also, what if Honda made a Hawk 750? What if the Hornet turned into the Hawk, but middleweight?
While sources are claiming that the new bike will be slated for the year 2024, it appears that Yamaha will use EICMA 2023 in order to parade the bike around before the model releases to customers. I’m eager to see the bike in live photos and itching to try out its MT-series-derived power and torque delivery. Will it be a hooligan like the MT-09 but with a focus on track performance? I certainly hope it’s not just another reskin of the MT series, but as the YZF-R7 has shown, there will definitely be some worthwhile hardware improvements over the standard MT-09 and that’s something to look forward to.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 975
The 1250 Pan Am from Harley-Davidson put the Bar and Shield back on my radar, but in a segment that I kind of, sort of did and did not expect the brand to be in. An adventure-touring Harley-Davidson was a bit absurd to me at the time when the Pan America was first launched, but the bike has grown on me a little bit after I tried it out.
As such, when news of a smaller-capacity Pan America leaked, I was stoked. I won’t be pledging my next purchase to Harley-Davidson, however, but I’m very interested to see how well a middleweight Pan America will do in the market given the reception of the full-size model.
Royal Enfield Scrambler 650
I have a few friends that have already turned their Royal Enfield Interceptor 650s into dedicated scramblers and tons of builders out there who've undertaken scrambler conversions, and if they can do it, why can’t RE do it themselves? We might get to see that Enfield has been cooking up in 2023 as the model was spied testing on Indian roads. It’s about time that Royal Enfield made a scrambler based on the 650 platform, and I can’t wait to see it. The launch of the Scrambler 650 might also accompany the upcoming Meteor 650, yet another bike that deserves a special mention and is coming in 2023.
So there you have it. While I’m not currently looking for a new steed to add to my stable, I’d love to test ride and try any one of these bikes. Who knows, maybe it’ll be love at first ride once I swing a leg over any of these models. I still don’t have a motorcycle that can track some trails, and that might be a key point for consideration should I find myself wanting a new motorcycle.