Author: David Booth
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the new motorcycles is. Sunshine, clear skies and twisty roads. Spring time is happy time for motorcyclists and nothing makes a biker happier than a new set of wheels. We look at the hottest five new motorcycles in dealerships this spring.
2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
"This is not the bike Steve McQueen rode," says Maxime Thouvenin, the new Vitpilen's designer. "It's the bike he would have wanted to ride." And with that pithy comment did Husqvarna separate the Vitpilen from the rest of the resto-rods sweeping the motorcycling industry.
The Vitpilen 701 may be the savior of the forgotten mid-displacement sportbike segment, its light weight bolstered by one very powerful single-cylinder engine. The 693-cc KTM-sourced single pumps out 75 horsepower, which may not seem like much compared with 120-hp 600-cc fours, but it only has to motivate 346 pounds.
Handling, as one might suspect from the aforementioned light weight, is lively. Look into a corner and the Vitpilen fairly anticipates your desire to clip apex. When a motorcycle is this light, all manner of ills can be forgiven.
Not that the Vitpilen 701($11,999) has many faults. It rides on premium WP suspension, stops sharpish thanks to Brembo brakes and features too-cool-for-school digital instrumentation. The Vitpilen was the hit of the motorcycle show circuit and, for once, substance matches style.
2018 Ducati Scrambler 110
This one was a no-brainer, Ducati's Scrambler already being the volume player in Ducati's lineup. With 46,000 Scramblers sold since January of 2015, this new 1100 version was as inevitable as rain in Spain.
Essentially, what Ducati has done is resurrect its 1079-cc, air-cooled V-twin, upgraded its emissions-reduction hardware and plopped it into an only slightly modified Scrambler chassis. Yes, it is one of Ducati's older V-twins, but it still packs 86 hp and it only has to motivate 211 kilograms.
Thanks to some serious chassis upgrades, the 1100 handles more gracefully as well. A new upper "trellis" subframe helps extend the 1100's wheelbase to a rangy 59.6 inches. A 45-mm upside-down Marzocchi front fork sports 150-mm of travel, as does the rear, direct-acting Kayaba monoshock.
The most important aspect of the new 1100 (base price, $12,995), however, is that, like its smaller siblings, it is imminently customizable with a plethora of custom parts available from Ducati. For Scrambler owners, the stock bike is but the blank canvas onto which they stamp their own personality.
2018 BMW F750/850 GS
While it is the big R1200 GS that garners the most adventure-touring accolades for BMW, the brand-new F850 version of Bayerische Motoren Werke's Gel
Published May 11th, 2018
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