These last couple years have brought unexpectedly awesome two-wheeled rides. Harley-Davidson showed off a completely unexpected lineup. Indian made a street-legal flat-track racer. Zero revamped its lineup of . Now, in Milan, Italy, more bikes are being unveiled. Here are the ones worth knowing about.
There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a 217-hp 1078-cc superbike is one of them. Aprilia's big-engine motorcycles are always near the top of any list of terrifyingly fast motorcycles. The newest version keeps that title and adds adaptive suspension that automatically adjusts to road conditions and riding style. Oh, and these awesome aerodynamic wings that Aprilia says actually do something. Whatever. The new bike looks awesome, though I'd be nervous about someone parallel parking a crossover into it and crushing them.
Ducati Panigales, too, are more motorcycle than almost anyone ever would need. This particular model upholds that reputation. Outfitted with a special Akrapovic racing exhaust, the V-4 R's 998-cc four-cylinder engine makes just over 230 horsepower. However the hell Ducati made this race motorcycle comply with emissions standards, I'm impressed.
KTM is an Austrian motorcycle manufacturer that arguably makes the best on- and off-road adventure motorcycles (ADV) you can buy. The new 790 will sell as a street-focused Adventure (pictured) and an off-road-kitted Adventure R in 2019. Both have KTM's LC8c ("compact") parallel twin engine that produces just north of 90 horsepower. Given the chance to take a long, far motorcycle trip, I'll take an 800-cc ADV bike like this over a hulking 1,000-cc-plus tourer like the BMW 1200GS. I'll start scouting routes.
MV Agusta isn't as widely known as Ducati or Moto Guzzi, but it makes some of the coolest, most-beautiful motorcycles on the planet. This model is a 798-cc F300 wrapped in a carbon-fiber fairing that looks part '70s racer throwback, part Victorian horse carriage.
Ever since the 2014 Grom, Honda has been doing awesome things with small 125-cc motorcycles. There's the adorable Monkey, the Super Cub, and now this R&D project. Underneath that red plastic is a CB125R, a four-stroke 125-cc beginner motorcycle not sold in the United States. Honda: Please make this tiny urban ripper, and sell it in the U.S. Tiny, light motorcycles like this are a blast to ride around cities, and hit a top speed that will keep you alive in the slow lane on most highways. Now, if only we can get more of the country to legalize lane-splitting…