The 2015 crop of new bikes is a big one, with lots of all-new or significantly updated models. We’ve covered the new stuff from EBR, Harley, Honda, Indian and Victory in previous issues. Here’s a brief overview of what’s coming down the pike from BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki, Star, Suzuki and Zero. Unless otherwise noted, pricing is TBD.
The R 1200 R is the “roadster” in BMW’s boxer-twin lineup, a naked street bike that does without some of the amenities of more specialized models. For 2015, the updated R 1200 R gets the liquid-cooled version of the venerable flat-opposed twin engine, which makes a claimed 125 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment includes ABS, Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and two riding modes (Road and Rain). Optional Riding Modes Pro adds two other modes (Dynamic and User) as well as Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). Although the R 1200 R maintains its tubular-steel frame and EVO Paralever-suspended single-sided swingarm, a telescopic male-slider fork has replaced the front Telelever that has been a signature feature of R-series models for years. Styling has been updated and new options include Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), Gear Shift Assistant Pro and Keyless Ride.
The 1976 BMW R 100 RS was the world’s first mass-produced motorcycle equipped with a full, frame-mounted fairing that had been developed in a wind tunnel. Variations of the RS remained in BMW Motorrad’s lineup through 2004. After a long hiatus, the R 1200 RS rejoins the lineup for 2015, offering many of the same features of the R 1200 R described above but with a front fairing that shares design elements with BMW’s S 1000 RR sportbike. The RS is powered by the liquid-cooled boxer engine, with Road and Rain riding modes, and ABS and ASC as standard equipment. Suspension is handled by a telescopic male-slider fork and EVO Paralever single-sided swingarm and shock. Options include Riding Modes Pro with DTC, Dynamic ESA, Gear Shift Assistant Pro and Keyless Ride.
For 2015, the S 1000 RR is stronger and lighter—BMW claims 199 horsepower (up 6), 83 lb-ft of torque and 450 pounds (down 9) with a full tank of gas and Race ABS. Chassis design and geometry has been revised to improve handling, the Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system introduced on the HP4 is now an available option, and cruise control—a first on a sportbike—is also a new option. Three riding modes are standard (Sport, Race and Rain), and optional Riding Modes Pro adds two more (Slick and User) plus Launch Control and a pit-lane speed limiter.
BMW is also expected to reveal a street-oriented but adventure-styled bike based on the S 1000 RR engine called the S 1000 XR in November; check our website for details.
Ducati pays homage to the small-displacement Scrambler models it produced in the ’60s and ’70s with an all-new, larger version bearing the same name. From the teardrop gas tank and wide handlebar to the minimalist proportions, the new 2015 Scrambler is inspired by its ancestors while being a fully contemporary machine, with standard ABS and LED lighting. It is powered by an air-cooled, two-valve, fuel-injected 803cc L-twin that makes a claimed 75 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque, held in place by a tubular-steel trellis frame. With its 3.6-gallon tank full, Ducati says the Scrambler weighs just 410 pounds. Four versions will be available. The standard model is called Icon ($8,495), and it comes in Ducati Red or 62 Yellow with cast wheels. Factory customized versions that will go for $9,995 include the Urban Enduro (Wild Green paint, a high fender, headlight grill,
handlebar cross-brace and spoked wheels), Full Throttle (Deep Black paint with yellow accents, Termignoni exhaust, tapered handlebar and cast wheels) and Classic (Orange Sunshine paint, metal fenders with traditional plate holder, special seat stitching and spoked wheels).
Building on the runaway success of Star’s Bolt/R-Spec “performance bobber” cruisers and the current popularity of café racers, Star has introduced the Bolt C-Spec. This new variant has clip-on handlebars, fork gaiters, a removable passenger seat cowl and sport café paint and graphics. The footpegs have been moved up and back for a sportier riding position. A longer fork and shocks give the bike a taller look with greater lean angles, and front and rear disc brakes feature sport-style wave rotors. Height of the slim solo seat is just 30.1 inches.
Like other Bolts, it’s powered by a fuel-injected, 58-cubic-inch (942cc), air-cooled V-twin, mounted in a double-cradle frame. Fuel injection and ignition timing maps have been calibrated for strong low- and mid-range torque. Belt final drive and steel fenders make the Bolt C-Spec ripe for customization, and Star Motorcycles will offer a full line of café-styled accessories. The 2015 Star Bolt C-Spec will be available in Liquid Silver or Envy Green for $8,690, and it will be in dealerships in January 2015.
Star Motorcycles will also offer Bullet Cowl editions of its Raider and Stryker factory-custom cruisers. The Bullet Cowl fairing adds wind protection and gives both bikes a distinctive look. The Raider Bullet Cowl, powered by a 113ci (1,854cc) air-cooled V-twin, is available in Raven for $15,390, and the Stryker Bullet Cowl, powered by an 80ci (1,304cc) liquid-cooled V-twin, is available in Camo Green for $12,090.
The 2015 V Star 1300 Deluxe has been given tough-guy styling with many blacked-out components, a shorty smoked windscreen and red stitching on the seat. Powered by an 80 ci (1,304cc) liquid-cooled V-twin with a 5-speed transmission and belt final drive, the V Star 1300 Deluxe is available in Raven ($13,790) or Rapid Red ($14,090).
Entry-level sportbikes have been coming on strong lately, and now Yamaha is getting into the game. The all-new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 is a chip off the supersport block, with sharp, angular styling like its 600cc R6 and 1,000cc R1 big brothers. It is powered by a 320cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin with DOHC, four valves per cylinder, a 180-degree crank and fuel injection, held in place by a steel frame. The transmission has six gears and final drive is via chain.
The fully faired R3 has a 30.7-inch seat height and an LCD instrument panel. Suspension is by KYB, with a 41mm fork with 5.1 inches of travel and a single shock with 5.9 inches of travel. Braking is handled by dual discs (ABS is not available) and the wheels are 10-spoke cast aluminum on the $4,990 bike.
Yamaha also announced that an all-new YZF-R1 and another important new model will be unveiled in November—check our website for details.
The 2015 lineup of electric bikes from Zero Motorcycles doesn’t include any all-new models, but improvements have been made across the board. All models now feature Showa suspension, Pirelli tires and—a first on production electric motorcycles—Bosch ABS. Battery packs in the Zero S, SR and DS have 10-percent higher capacity to extend range—a Zero S with the optional Power Tank is good for a claimed 185 miles in the city. Other improvements throughout the lineup include better brake systems, wheels, wheel bearings, seats and rider-bike interface. Prices start at $13,345 for a Zero S (ZF9.4) and $2,495 for the range-extending Z-Force Power Tank. Since all Zero Motorcycles are 100-percent electric, they may qualify for government rebates or tax credits.
Suzuki revealed three early-release 2016 models in its performance-focused GSX series, which includes the GSX-RR MotoGP racebike and GSX-R 600/750/1000 sportbikes. The new GSX-S models are powered by a retuned version of the liquid-cooled 999cc in-line four from the GSX-R1000 that emphasizes street performance and low to midrange torque. They have a newly designed lightweight frame, a Renthal aluminum handlebar, three-mode traction control, Brembo radial front brake calipers and optional ABS. Three versions will be offered—the naked GSX-S1000/ABS and the fully-faired GSX-S1000F ABS. The GSX-S1000/ABS will be produced in Japan starting in March 2015 and the GSX-S1000F ABS starting in April, with sales to follow in Europe and North America.
Suzuki also unveiled a new version of its popular middleweight V-Strom adventure tourer. The V-Strom 650XT ABS has a redesigned front fairing with a pronounced beak (inspired by Suzuki’s 1988 DR-Z Paris-Dakar rally racer), which brings styling more in line with the V-Strom 1000 that was extensively updated for 2014. It also features revised suspension settings, reverse spoked wheels and a full range of adventure-touring accessories, including aluminum panniers and top box, engine guards, skid plate and more. The new V-Strom 650XT ABS is available in a Metallic Matte Fibroin Gray color, for a suggested retail price of $10,399.
The 2015 lineup also features the V-Strom 1000 ABS Adventure, which takes the standard V-Strom 1000 ABS ($12,699) and adds the following key accessories: under cowl, hand guards, touring windscreen, side cases and mounting brackets and accessory bars. The Adventure model comes in Pearl Glacier White for a retail price of $13,999.
Suzuki also introduced a pair of streetfighters, the 2015 GSX-S750 and GSX-S750Z. They have upright seating positions, matte-silver handlebars and 749cc fuel-injected in-line four engines. Suzuki says the 749cc engine powering these bikes is tuned to deliver an ideal power curve for street riding. Everything from the engine’s cam profiles, to the intake and exhaust tracts, are designed to boost low-end torque and mid-range power.
The GSX-S750 is available in Metallic Matte Black. The GSX-S750Z features Metallic Triton Blue and Pearl Glacier White bodywork. This special package also includes gold-anodized outer fork tubes, red anodized fork adjuster bolts, a red shock spring and blue chain. The GSX-S750 carries an MSRP of $7,999, and the special GSX-S750Z will retail for a suggested $8,149.
Suzuki will also offer a fully faired GW250F version of the naked GW250 for $4,499. The company also announced price reductions of $200-$1,000 on many of the cruisers in its 2015 Boulevard line.
The eye-popping Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a track-only model powered by a supercharged 998cc in-line four that makes a claimed 300 horsepower. Several divisions within Kawasaki Heavy Industries, including the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division, collaborated to create the Ninja H2R. The team effort resulted in the highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger, the aerodynamic carbon-fiber winglets on the fairing and the ultra-strong trellis frame. Matching the radical power claims is radical styling, which Kawasaki calls “Intense Force Design,” that places a premium on aerodynamic stability, heat dissipation and attention to detail. “Fitted with slick racing tires, it may not be ridden on public roads and should only be ridden by experienced riders,” says Kawasaki’s press release. Kawasaki said a street-legal Ninja H2 for mere mortals will be unveiled in November.
Extensively updated versions of both the Versys 650 and Versys 1000 models are also coming to the U.S. for 2015. The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS has more aggressive styling with a larger adjustable windscreen, more horsepower and torque, updated suspension and brakes, more fuel capacity and other improvements, and the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT adds 28-liter KQR (Kawasaki Quick Release) hard saddlebags and hand guards.
Ergonomics were improved by moving the footpegs down and forward, and wind protection was enhanced with a larger windscreen that can be adjusted over a 2.4-inch range without tools. A revised instrument panel and new LED taillight round out the long list of improvements.
With similarly angular styling, the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT offers a big step up in terms of power and sophistication. It’s powered by a 1,043cc in-line four—a version of the liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve 1,043cc in-line four found in the Ninja 1000 and Z1000—and includes engine power modes, traction control, adjustable suspension, ABS, 28-liter KQR saddlebags and hand guards. Like the 650, the 1000 has a windscreen that can be adjusted for height without tools (over a 2.95-inch range), as well as a 33.1-inch seat height and 5.5-gallon fuel tank, and the 1000 adds a centerstand.
Kawasaki is betting that a large number of cruiser enthusiasts are willing to do without the traditional looks of a V-twin-based machine in exchange for low cost, modern styling, adjustable ergonomics, a sporty parallel twin-cylinder engine and light weight. The new 2015 Vulcan S and Vulcan S ABS have all of those qualities, as well as a long list of accessories to personalize the motorcycles, and they’re priced at just $6,999 and $7,399.
Designed to accommodate a wide range of riders, the Vulcan S/ABS have standard seats that are just 27.8 inches high. Standard adjustable forward-mounted footpegs can be moved forth or back 1-inch, and different Ergo-Fit seats and handlebars are available to better-fit taller or shorter riders. Seats, handlebars and footpegs can be changed by the dealer at no additional cost. A passenger seat, backrest and footpegs are also optional for the solo-seat bikes. Claimed wet weights are 492 and 498 pounds.
The Vulcan S/ABS are powered by a liquid-cooled, 649cc parallel twin derived from the Ninja 650, which has been retuned for even more low- and mid-range power. Styling includes elements such as the teardrop-shaped, 3.7-gallon fuel tank, inverted triangular headlight and black mirrors to match the black frame and muffler.
(This article Big Bangs for the Buck was published in the January 2015 issue of Rider magazine.)