All the hot new metal for next season…
2020 is a leap year – and there’s been a leap forward in tech and performance for a host of hot new motorbikes. We’ve picked out some of our favourites here – and we can’t wait to get out for a ride on them once the weather picks up…
First stop – take a look at our recent trip to EICMA 2019!
The Japanese firm arguable had the bike of the Milan show in the form of its new 2020 CBR1000RR Fireblade. Honda has been kicking around the bottom of the sector for a while now, in terms of both race results and road bike performance, and was overdue for a hefty update.
And here it is. The headlines are all round the engine, which has gone all-out for performance. The bore/stroke ratio is the most extreme you can get – shared only with the megabucks Honda RC213V S and Ducati’s Panigale V4R, and its 81mm pistons are the same size as those used in MotoGP. So what? Well, having such a wide bore and short stroke gives the maximum possible potential for peak power production (within the race rules for MotoGP).
Bigger pistons means more room for big valves, and a shorter stroke means the piston has to move less distance for each crankshaft revolution, allowing a higher rev limit with the same piston strength. Add in the fact the Fireblade pistons are made of the same forged aluminium as the RC213V MotoGP machine, and you see how serious they are.
That continues through the bottom end too – we see titanium con-rods for the first time on a Honda inline-four road bike (the firm’s V-4 RC30 famously was the first to have them in a production machine).
A mighty 218bhp claimed peak power, with a kerb weight just over 200kg. Stunning numbers, that look like they could put the Blade back on top of the class for the first time in an age.
Check out the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade…
The Noale firm is in the process of building up a middleweight range of bikes, based around a new parallel twin 660 engine. The main attraction is the RS660 sportsbike, which looks like it could be a proper little weapon. Launched in the new year, it’ll have around 100bhp in a light 169kg sporty chassis, full fairing, Brembo brakes and a middle-class suspension package.
An RS250 for the 2020s perhaps?
See the Aprilia RS660 in all its glory…
Not a massive year from Munich – but we do have the new F900 XR – a road-biased adventure styled machine using a bigger-capacity version of the new F800 engine. You get 105bhp peak power shoving along 219kg ready to ride, and the usual massive range of BMW accessories.
There’s also a new F900R, bringing that new 900 engine to the naked practical roadster sector. Both get a new welded plastic fuel tank design, and will be in the shops for spring 2020.
Take a look at the BMW F900 XR now…
Kawasaki had presented its biggest news before Milan, but it was still the first chance to see the new bikes in the flesh in Europe. The Z H2 naked supercharged beastie topped the bill, though it’s fair to say it isn’t a classical beauty. Brutal is maybe the best description of the bodywork and styling, and the spec underneath lives up to that. A retuned H2 engine makes 200bhp, and the chassis is impressive: Brembo brakes, steel trellis frame, Showa suspension.
The all-up weight is a bit of a worry: 239kg ready to ride is Hayabusa weight, and makes us wonder what happened to the notion that a smaller supercharged engine would be lighter and more efficient. However, the firm’s H2SX is even heavier and is a lovely thing to ride, so maybe they’ve cracked it. We’ll find out in the new year…
Kawasaki has also updated its Z1000SX for 2020, with new bodywork, updated dash and a series of engine and chassis tweaks. Expect even more grunty touring road performance.
Check out our gallery for the brand new H2Z and Ninja 1000SX…
Building on the success of the excellent 790 Duke and 790 Adventure, KTM brought out a bigger-bore version of the parallel twin engine, and bolted it into a new Duke. The 890 Duke comes in stock and ‘R’ versions, with the R getting much fancier suspension. No firm details on price or performance, apart from a power figure for the motor: 121bhp@9,750rpm.
If it’s anything like the 790, expect a super-lively bundle of nonsense!
Take a look at the 890 Duke below…
A quiet year for Suzuki, with a revised V-Strom the only novelty at Milan. The new 2020 V-Strom 1050 comes in two variants – a base bike and a posh XT variant, which gets cruise control, spoked rims, hill-start and other gizmos. The engine remains the 1,037cc V-twin lump that dates back to the TL1000S, but is updated to Euro5 emissions spec, and gets a few more ponies: peak power is now 106bhp. The styling’s been boosted too, with design cues that evoke the great Suzuki dirtbikes of the 1990s – the DR750 and DR.Big Dakar-style machinery.
It’s all about the Suzui V-Strom 1050 in our gallery…
Yamaha doesn’t have a load of updates for 2020 – but a revised Tracer 700 tickled our fancy at Milan for sure. It’s got a sharper new set of clothes, with slick LED lighting, and a 75bhp Euro5 engine tune. Chassis tweaks add more adjustability to the suspension, and all-up mass is 196kg.
The legendary T-Max super-scooter gets a capacity hike and is now a 560, thanks to a 2mm overbore. A heap of practicality updates make life easier, and the motor is now Euro5 emissions-compliant too.
Take a look at the brand new Yamaha releases now…
Two big new models from Bologna for 2020, and again, they were well-trailed before Milan. The main story is the new Ducati V4 Streetfighter – a no-holds-barred naked loon-machine, with a 208bhp version of the Panigale V4S engine, aerodynamic wings and track-spec Brembo Stylema brakes, plus electric Öhlins suspension on the ‘S’ version.
The wings are there to help calm things down at speed, adding weight over the front end and boosting stability all round. Kerb weight is a sliver under 200kg, and price for the ‘S’ version is a sliver under £20k.
The other big new machine was the Panigale V2 – an update on the 959 middleweight superbike. The obvious upgrade is a sweet new single-sided swingarm and tweaked fairing, but there’s a heap of improvements under the new bodywork. The motor now makes 155bhp – a hefty chunk of go and no mistake – and the electronics have also been upgraded with a new six-axis IMU and colour LCD dash. It costs around £15k, and will be in the shops early 2020.
Check out the Ducati V4 Streetfighter and Panigale V2 now…