Half-sized but not half-assed.
Mid-size motorcycles, whichever segment they fare from, are extremely versatile bikes able to meet the needs of nearly any rider. Their smaller stature and lower power output make them great picks for rookie riders, however, they have plenty of fun on tap for the experienced enthusiasts who know what they’re doing and how to make a slow(er) bike go fast.
As we near the beginning of a new riding season, we decided to have a look at what’s new on the market in the mid-size segment to introduce you to a few interesting options. There have been several, notable additions and updates in the class so we found some really strong contenders to that spot in your garage. Even better, they’re all priced right around (or below) the $10,000 mark which makes them even easier to get on.
Here are five great bikes you should check out to get your 2021 riding season going.
Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- Price: $10,995
- Engine: 803cc, Desmodromic L-twin
- Weight: 432 pounds
In fall 2020, Ducati added yet another member to its Scrambler family: the new Nightshift. While the inners are the same as the other mid-size Scramblers, as its name suggests, the Nightshift gets the blacked-out treatment with black components and a matte silver-blue paint for an elegant, stealth look. Other features include bar-end mirrors, wire-spoke wheels with black rims, a body-matching side cover, and a tuck-and-roll two-people bench.
We're telling you about the Nightshift specifically because it’s the latest addition to the mid-size Scrambler lineup. That being said, any model equipped with the 803cc Desmo would be a winning pick in our opinion. It’s such a great, fun, uncompromising mill. It isn’t so wild that it takes away from the ride but it’s also an unadulterated hoot to ride on.
Aprilia Tuono 660
- Price: $10,499
- Engine: 660cc parallel-twin
- Weight: 403 pounds
The all-new Aprilia Tuono 660 launched early in 2021 after a little over a year of suspicions that the Concept introduced at EICMA 2019 was heading for production.
Its RS counterpart has already been extremely well received following its 2020 introduction. Considering the half-size Tuono’s underpinnings are the same, combined with a more relaxed geometry, we can only assume that it will have similar success, if not more.
The 660cc parallel-twin strikes a healthy balance between manageable and fun. With 95 horsepower on tap and weighing just 403 pounds, the Tuono 660 is both easy to approach for new riders and easy to make the most of for the experienced ones. It’s fitted with a host of high-spec components and features, including five ride modes, and wheelie and traction control—the kind of stuff we usually find on more expensive bikes.
Moto Guzzi V7
- Price: $8,990
- Engine: 850cc, 90-degree V-twin
- Weight: TBD
Piaggio and Moto Guzzi made some important moves for 2021. In addition to giving the popular V85 TT a new set of wire-spoke wheels that allows tubeless tires to be fitted, the group also thoroughly upgraded the V7 lineup.
For 2021, the entry-level goose’s 744cc mill was replaced with the V85’s 850cc 90-degree V-twin engine and received a power increase in the process, now producing 65 horsepower and 53.8 lb-ft of torque.
The V7 lineup was trimmed down to two trim-levels: Stone and Special, equipped with distinct colorways and components. The Stone gets the blacked-out treatment while the Special receives a two-tone paint job with chrome accents.
While Guzzi has yet to confirm the new generation’s weight and height, we know that the outgoing model weighed around 461 pounds and that the saddle height reached 30.3 inches. The new bikes’ dimensions are likely similar which makes it an approachable, easy-to-get-on bike that can go anywhere from the city to the freeway with little to no compromise. Just below the $9k mark, it’s also a good bargain for the money.
- Price: $5,999
- Engine: 500cc, parallel-twin
- Weight: 469 pounds
This bike isn’t the most exciting on the list in terms of personality. No, in this case, the cool factor stems from the novelty (I bet you you’ll be one of, if not the only member of your crew to ride on a Benelli) and the affordability. It’s one rad, cheap, and different way to get in the adventure-touring segment. See, the new TRK502 goes for a (relatively) frugal price—only $5,999 for the base model—which is the brand’s biggest appeal.
It runs a very basic 500cc parallel-twin that produces a reasonable 47 horsepower and 33 lb-ft of torque. At 469 pounds, it’s a bit on the heavier side for the size of the bike but not so heavy that’s it should be a write-off. With a seat height of 33.3 inches, the Benelli TRK502 gets you pretty much everything you’d like to have from a mid-size adventure bike with the bonus of being one of the most affordable offerings on the U.S. market.
- Price: $7,699
- Engine: 689cc, parallel-twin
- Weight: 406 pounds
For 2021, Yamaha updated its two mid-range MTs—the MT-07 and MT-09. While the 900 received a new engine altogether to meet the European emissions standards, the 700 got a more modest Euro 5 tweak, along with a facelift inspired by the MT-03. The new design includes the cyclopic projector framed with two LED “brackets” and reshaped body panels with new air ducts integrated into the fuel tank.
Yamaha also remapped the ECU, optimized the fuel injection system, and added a 2-into-1 exhaust system which not only helps reduce the bike’s emissions but also results in smoother power delivery, according to Team Blue.
Despite the few changes, the MT-07's output remains unchanged at 75 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque which is plenty to whip its 406 pounds around.