2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
I know, I know, many of you have been firing at Yamaha for teasing us all with the new Ténéré 700 and taking it away from us since the model won’t be coming to America before the 2020 model year. Until then, we’ll have to check at how the test drives on the other side of the pond are revealing.
Considering all the hype, however, you can’t exactly blame me for throwing this one in our top 5 favorites. It is, after all, a pretty cool bike. It was a long time coming and Yamaha played the teaser card for a long time until EICMA, but it played it well. The Ténéré 700, or “T7” is a proper adventure machine, powered by the torquey and low-revving 698cc cross-plane parallel twin, a capable mill that will make a gallon of gas go a long way.
Thanks to its optimized ergonomics, long-travel suspension, and great fuel economy, the Ténéré 700 becomes an accessible, lightweight option for those who like to hop from trail to trail and enjoy the road in-between.
2019 Kawasaki W800
Finally! We had lost all hope. The W800 was introduced in 2010 as the descendant of Kawi’s very first large-displacement bike, the W1. It got everyone excited, except only Europe got to enjoy it—it didn’t cross on this side of the Atlantic. For six long years, the cousins from the old continent got to revel in its awesomeness until it went on a hiatus in 2016.
For 2019, the Kawasaki W800 is making a comeback and at last! This time we’ll get to share in the fun. Right away, you know it’s something else because, well, it isn’t green. While Kawasaki gladly employs its bright candy green and black livery on most of its models, this one receives a proper vintage treatment with a marroon paint. The stripes, the vintage logo, the sideplates, the downpipe, the front cowl: everything screams “I don’t belong to this century!” on the new W800 and love that about it. And sorry Kawasaki, we’re kind of happy you opted out of the usual neon color-scheme, you did us proud.
2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701
We were expecting you agent Svart. After the official introduction of the Vitpilen 701 on the market earlier this year, its twin was highly anticipated. Especially since Husky is better known for its enduro bikes and that the 701s open a new door for the Swedish brand.
Finally, the Svart showed up in Milan alongside a very good-looking Vitpilen Aero concept. The “Black Arrow” isn’t that far off Husqvarna’s love of dirt since it borrows from the trendy flat track aesthetics. It uses the same 701 block found in the other Husky models. It’s massive, round headlight and quirky angles have made the Svart a show-stopper.
Royal Enfield KX Concept
Royal Enfield is coming up with something a little different this time. The brand we usually associate to military-inspired retro-looking models is approaching the vintage fad from a different angle. Inspired by its own history, Royal Enfield has decided to go down the bobber path with the introduction of the KX Concept.
From the 50s and 60s, RE is now dipping a toe in the 30s, in the pre-war time, before the brand had seen combat. Back then, the company did have a KX. Already back then, the KX was a monster equipped with 1,140cc sidevalve V-twin. Though in recent years, the formerly British brand has been enjoying the safety of the mid-size displacements, it looks like it’s ready to step out of its comfort zone by tackling an 838cc V-twin. The concept is delightfully retro with a few winks at its ancestor in the stretched out wheelbase and oversized wheels, but with a good balance of everything modern expected from 21st Century bike. It looks so cool.
Though still only at the concept stage, the SuperNEX is a promise of something exciting coming to the realm of electric bikes. Not only is the model wickedly sexy and easy on the eyes; it’s also got brains to match. In fact, as explained by Kymco chairman Allen Ko, the SuperNEX isn’t meant to be just another electric motorcycle. It is meant as a “best of both worlds” kind of deal where the rider doesn’t have to sacrifice the pleasure of the ride to promote a greener future.
While most electric motorcycles leave engine notes and engaging rides behind to favor the absence of emissions, the SuperNEX promotes both. According to Ko, part of the satisfaction we find in riding is the pleasure of hearing the engine rev and of having the control by changing gears, something most electric vehicles nowadays have eliminated entirely.
This has prompted Kymco to fit the NEX with an Active Audio Motor that reproduces the sound of a sportsbike engine (though admittedly more digital sounding). Another clever feature is the six-gear transmission. Though there’s no proper clutch (something had to give), the rider can still enjoy the sound of a revving engine and the momentary “gulp” as the gears are changed.