In the spring of 2020, motorcycle manufacturers pleaded with the European Commission to delay the implementation of the new Euro 5 emission standards. The pandemic caused important production both from a manufacturing and supply standpoints which ultimately delayed the transition to the new European regulations.
While the extension was granted for some vehicle classes, motorcycles weren’t on the list. That pushed pretty much all bike makers to play catch up during the second half of 2020. By the time fall came around, in the absence of the usual big show platforms, new bikes were introduced almost every week and we saw a surge in the naked bike segment in particular.
We met some entirely new players to the naked/standard/roadster game as well as the latest generation of well-established staples. If you like the naked bike aesthetic, you’re going to be spoiled in 2021! Let’s have a look at all the goodies we’re getting.
Aprilia Tuono 660
A year and a bit after it introduced the all-new RS 660 to its lineup, Aprilia followed up with the Tuono version of its mid-size platform. The Tuono takes all the good stuff the RS has to offer—including the 270-degree, 660cc parallel-twin—and makes it even more accessible thanks to more relaxed ergonomics and a slightly detuned output (95hp instead of 101).
The Tuono also gets the RS’ LED headlight design, integrated aerodynamic appendages, color TFT display, suite of electronic assists, and svelte 403-pound silhouette.
Aprilia Tuono V4
For 2021, Aprilia showed its flagship V4 models a little love as well. While the RSV4 received the most important upgrades (including a displacement increase), the Tuono’s 1,077cc V4 rated at 175 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque remains unchanged.
The bike does receive a fresh new design with aerodynamic features and LED lighting, inspired by the new 660s, a new swingarm and exhaust system, a Marelli 11MP ECU, and a six-axis IMU with six riding modes.
Benelli Leoncino 500 Trail
In December, 2020, Benelli announced that it added a second model to its North American Leoncino 500 lineup. In addition to the Leoncino Scrambler, we now have the Leoncino Trail, designed to push the standard bike’s off-road abilities a little further.
While the bikes share some components—the steel trellis frame, 50mm inverted fork, and single, lateral-mounted shock—Benelli did give the Trail a few trail-friendly perks. According to the information on the site, the Trail’s 499cc produces 48 horsepower which is a speck more power than the Scrambler.
It also receives a set of asymmetrical wire-spoke wheels—19 inches at the front and 17 inches at the back shod in Metzeler Tourance tires—a taller handlebar, and longer suspension travel.
BMW G 310 R
Changes to the 2021 BMW G 310 R aren’t nearly as spectacular as some of the new bikes we’re getting this year. That being said, along with its Euro 5-compliant exhaust system, the smallest R did also receive a short list of upgrades that includes LED lighting at both ends, a self-boosting, anti-hopping clutch, as well as a selection of new colorways.
BMW R nineT
The neo-retro BMW R nineT lineup was among the last bikes left on BMW’s list of updates for 2021. For a while, we even thought that BMW was done with the Ts and that they wouldn’t carry over due to the new European regulations.
Thankfully, it wasn’t the case and at the end of October, 2020, alongside the new R 18 Classic, the BMW introduced the updated new R nineT family. All four versions feature a redesigned, Euro 5-compliant boxer engine that produces 109 horsepower (previously 110, so not hugely different) and 85.6 lb-ft of torque. The line also features redesigned cylinder heads, throttle valve parts, and cylinder head covers.
According to BMW, the reconfigured engine’s new power and torque curves result in an increased pull between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm
In July, 2020, we spotted what looked like a new-generation Ducati Monster out for a ride, suggesting the Italian firm had committed a crime by dropping the model’s signature trellis frame. The following December, Ducati confirmed our fears when it formally introduced its all-new roadster, built on a new, Panigale-derived aluminum frame.
Once you look past the new silhouette (whether you like the trellis-free Monster or not), the specs are almost appealing enough to make up for the more generic design. For 2021, the Monster receives a new 937cc Testastretta L-twin rated at 111 horsepower and 69 lb-ft of torque. It’s also 40 pounds lighter than the 821, tipping the scales at 366 pounds dry.
Other features include a 43mm USD fork, a preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear, along with an aluminum double-sided swingarm, a set of alloy wheels, Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, a 4.3-inch TFT color display, three riding modes, wheelie and launch control, quick shifter, and more.
Changes to the 2021 Honda Grom are significant. The bike receives a new design with an octagonal headlight, larger side panels, a stand-alone fuel tank covers, and small triangular side plate look-alikes. A new flat saddle sits on top of the frame while the chassis itself remains unchanged.
The new Grom is also easily customizable thanks to the quick-release body panels—that’s what the six screws with contrasting washers are for. We can assume that Honda is going to offer a selection of fun-colored body panels that future owners will be able to swap themselves.
The 2021 Grom runs on an updated 125cc single rated at 9.6 horsepower and 7.74 lb-ft of torque, now paired with a five-gear transmission, up from four. Everything else from the 12-inch wheels to the 31mm inverted fork suspension to the 30-inch saddle height is the same as the previous model year.
Kawasaki Z H2 SE
The Kawasaki Z H2 was introduced at the end of 2019 as Team Green’s new supercharged naked beast. Considering the design is only a year old, there was no need for the company to change anything for 2021. What it did do, however, is add the new SE trim level, equipped with an advanced skyhook suspension, programmed to increase the bike’s stability over bumpy surfaces.
KTM 890 Duke
Almost a year after the new KTM 890 Duke R’s launch, Team Orange decided to follow up with the entry-level 890 Duke. Sounds a little backwards, right? We thought so too. Especially after a year. That being said, there must be a method to the madness since the company proceeded the same way with the 890 Adventure lineup, introducing the higher trim levels before the base one.
So, what did KTM do to make the R-less Duke more accessible? It stripped the naked 890 o its more high-end components such as smaller, non-Brembo brakes (300mm discs at the front instead of 320), and the ergos are a little less aggressive with the bike sitting lower on its suspension—resulting in a lower seat height—and the handlebar shifter backward, toward the rider.
The 889cc parallel-twin is also detuned to produce 115 horsepower and 67.8 lb-ft of torque (versus 121 hp and 73 lb-ft of torque). We can expect the base Duke to be offered at a more affordable price than its Duke R big brother (though pricing has yet to be announced).
Moto Guzzi V7
Just before the end of the year, Piaggio and Moto Guzzi introduced two pretty important updates for 2021. The first one was a new V85 TT with a little power boost and more off-road-friendly features. The other was the completely overhauled V7 and is now armed with a bigger, more powerful engine. In fact, so much has changed that Piaggo even dropped the Roman numeral convention to signify the introduction of an entirely-new V7.
The old 744cc mill was upgraded to a V85-derived 850cc V-twin rated at 65 horsepower and 53.8 lb-ft of torque (up from 52 hp and 44.2 lb-ft of torque). The design was modernized with LED lighting all around, a new instrument cluster, as well as redesigned headlight, taillight, side panels, rear mudguard, and exhaust tips.
Moto Guzzi V9
In addition to the updated V7 and V85TT, Moto Guzzi announced that the V9 would also receive its fair share of changes. Surprisingly, the 9 runs on the exact same 850cc, 65-hp V-twin as the 7. The maker adds that the V9 is built on a stronger frame with increased stability and precision.
How do you choose between the V7 and the V9 at this point? The look, pretty much. While the V7 has more of a standard retro flavor, the V9 is quirkier looking with a longer fork, a wider rake angle, and chunky tires.
Triumph Trident 660
We hadn’t had a mid-size bike from Triumph for a long time—not since the Daytona that was discontinued in 2016. Though Hinckley has since revived the Daytona, armed with a Moto2-derived 765cc, the model was made available in very limited quantities—we had yet to get a proper entry-level member of the family.
That all changed in October 30, 2020, when Triumph unveiled the all-new Trident 660. Built on a brand-new chassis and powered by a brand-new 660cc inline-triple engine that produces 80 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque, the Trident is designed to mark a much-needed new entry-point into the British lineup.
Despite a more-than-reasonable price tag ($7,995), the middle-weight roadster does feature a number quality components from its Nissin brakes to its Show suspension and even comes with two riding modes (Road and Rain).
Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS
Triumph followed up the Trident 660 and Tiger 850 Sport introductions with yet another exciting addition to the lineup for 2021: the new Speed Triple 1200 RS. In addition to its bigger, more powerful engine—the new 1,160cc inline triple rated at 178 horsepower and 92.3 lb-ft of torque—the new Triple is built on an equally new frame.
All of Triumph’s weight saving measures paid off as the new bike shed 20 pounds during its redesign process, now weighing 437 pounds wet, and resulting in an even better power-to-weight ratio.
Here’s another inline-triple that received a significant number of upgrades for 2021. Yamaha introduced a new MT-09 back in October, 2020, armed with a new design inspired by the MT-03, a lighter frame, and a Euro 5-compliant engine. The displacement increased from 847cc to 890cc, and so did the output now rated at 117 horsepower and 68.6 lb-ft of torque.
The 2021 model-year gets a ride-by-wire Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) and an Accelerator Position Sensor Grip (APSG) borrowed from the R1 but tuned specifically for the MT. Yamaha also claims that the new bike is the first naked sportbike to feature a high-tech 6-axis IMU that manages the lean-angle sensitive traction control system, slide control system, lift control system, and brake control system.