Rumor has it...
Aside from actual new motorcycles, there's one thing we love to cover: rumored models. While they don’t always become a reality, some of them do, and there's something utterly fascinating about tracking a rumor’s evolution and timeline.
While 2020 has been a weird year so far, motorcycle manufacturers have kept busy nonetheless and several new bike rumors have surfaced since the beginning of the year. Some rumors such as the Africa-Twin-based Honda Rebel 1100 and Royal Enfield Meteor 350 were confirmed while new ones popped up. Here's an (updated) look at the new bikes we might or might not see in 2021.
At EICMA 2019 (remember, back when we still had motorcycle shows?), Aprilia officially announced the introduction of the exciting new RS 660 to its lineup for 2020 and teased a naked version with the Tuono 660 concept. Those who focused all their attention on the two 660s on the center stage likely missed out on another clue Aprilia shared about things to come in its lineup.
Tucked away in a glass box, in a pool of foliage, we got our first peek at the rumored new Tuareg 660. In the following month of September, the Italian media shared a spy shot of what looked like a Tuareg test mule exploring the Italian urban jungle. e are only a few weeks left to 2020 but we can hope that sometime in the upcoming weeks, Aprilia will have a "concept" to show us!
Will it, won't it? Considering Harley seriously shuffled the cards in 2020, it's hard to know what future models the Motor Company has in the works at this point. Though the Pan America was saved from the reorganization, it sounds like the (almost ready for production) Bronx wasn't so lucky—neither were the patented café racer and flat-tracker models that were spotted in official document earlier in 2020.
It looks like the Custom 1250 will instead be the bike to follow the Pan America, featured on the updated page of future Harley model planned for 2021. Though we know very little about the model, the 1250 suggests it will use the same 1,250cc Revolution Max engine as the Pan Am.
After the 2020 CRF1100L, and more recently, the CMX1100 a.k.a. the Rebel, rumors out of Japan suggest that Honda is now developing a sport-tourer that uses the new 1,084cc parallel-twin. The team at AutoBy.jp imagined what a one-liter sport-touring model, powered by the Africa Twin's engine, would look like. The designers borrowed a few stylistic cues from Honda's existing model in the segment, namely the NC750X, but gave it an imposing stance, worthy of a flagship.
The rumor of a new sport-tourer surfaced after two Honda patents hinted at new frame designs that featured the liter twin. According to Autoby.jp, however, if such a bike is indeed in the works, chances are that it won't land in the showrooms before 2022. That means that it would likely still launch in 2021 which makes it a relevant addition to our list.
Kawasaki KLR650 Descendant
We had high hopes for a KLR650 descendant when Kawasaki announced that it would unveil six new models on November 23, 2020. After two months of speculations about what Team Green was going to debut, the day of the big unveiling finally came. While we met such exciting models as the new KLX300SM and the updated Ninja ZX-10R, there was a conspicuous absentee: there was no KLR descendant in sight.
That being said, only five bikes debuted instead of six—Kawasaki announced it would unveil two new bikes in January, 2021. That means that there's still hope to see a supersized KLX join the green ranks in the new year.
Now that KTM has seemingly completed its list of unveiling for 2020, things have quieted down for Team Orange. Or have they? New rumors out of Europe suggest that the Austrians could be developing a Super Super Duke designed to be even more extreme than the current Super Duke R.
Though only a bit of noise for the time being, an RR could bring a slew of high-performance upgrades including a generous serving of carbon fiber, complete with, who knows, titanium hardware, and top-shelf components? Have you ever seen an angry Austrian? Neither have I, but this could be it!
The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade might not stay alone in its triple R segment for very long. In addition to suggesting Honda also wants in on the 250cc, inline-four goodness, rumor has it that it is also developing a mid-size Blade, the CBR600RR-R.
The earliest reports from Young Machine mentioned the model was expected to launch during the 2020 Thai MotoGP weekend but with most races rescheduled, Honda had to figure out a new timeline. Though there were rumors of an August, 2020, launch, as of November, we have yet to meet the mid-size Fireblade.
Honda CRF850L Africa Twin
This rumor has been around for well over a year. In fact, amid the whole “bigger Africa Twin” buzz of 2019 that hinted at the model’s upgrade, the rumor also suggested that upsizing the flagship adventurer created space for Honda to introduce a mid-size version.
In March 2020, Motorcycle News added fuel to the fire. Citing anonymous “MCN sources”, the popular U.K. publication confirmed that an 850 Africa was in fact in the works and that it would be built on a modular chassis, as an evolution of the NC750X rather than a downsized CRF1100L. The site suggested the bike would debut at EICMA but the event was canceled this year due to the pandemic so who knows when (and if) the model will launch.
Husqvarna 901 Svartpilen
Husqvarna hit a homerun when it introduced the 901 Norden concept at EICMA in 2019. Reception of the model was so enthusiastic that it didn’t take long for the Swedish company to confirm it would make it to production.
It looks like the maker could also be developing a 901 version of its Svartpilen flat tracker. Spy shots documented earlier in May 2020 suggest that a flagship could also be added to the Svartpilen lineup.
Triumph Speed Triple 1160
More spy shots! This time, the culprit is what looks like a new Triumph Speed Triple, armed with what could be a bigger new 1,160cc engine. After all, the House of Hinckley needs to update the model to make it Euro 5 compliant so this would be the perfect occasion to size the engine up a few notches.
Yamaha FZ750 Revival
Back in the 80s, Team Blue introduced the quirky FZ750, a sportbike that featured an inline-four engine armed with five valves per cylinder. While an unusual setup, it worked for the company, and reviews of the model were vastly favorable.
Nowadays, one of Yamaha’s most exciting engine is its 847cc inline-triple used in the MT-09, among other things. So good, in fact, that according to Young Machine, the manufacturer could be working on an FZ750 revival based on the MT-09. The Japanese publication also suggests the model would adopt an old school sportbike flavor. A sort of vintage-looking R9 could definitely spice things up for the company.
Kawasaki momentarily became everyone’s favorite brand when it introduced the ZX-25R. For some reason, a 250cc inline-four bike got everyone’s engine running. As things currently stand, the ZX is the only model of its kind currently on the market, but that could be about to change.
In July 2020, rumors out of Asia surfaced, suggesting Yamaha wasn’t about to let Kawasaki get all the small-bore four-pot glory. Several Indian, Vietnamese, and Filipino outlets reported that we could soon see a ZX-25R competitor in the form of the YZF-R25M.