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NEW 2011



New 2011 Bikes that we want to ride!

It's that time of year. Here in the Twin Cities the weather is not exactly optimal for riding, so we tend to dream about the coming spring (really, it will be warm and the streets will be clear of snow and ice... someday). It the time when next season's reviews are planned, when we think about what bikes and scooters we will be examining for the benefit of our readers. Some will be machines that have been out for a year (or more) like a couple of the interesting Hyosung motorcycles. Some will be "new" machines that are just making their entrance into our market.

As I look at the promotional material on these new models, it seems natural to come up with a list of what I'd like to check out. Of course I have no illusions that I will actually get my mitts on all of these, but here is some of the new stuff that sparks my interest.

Aprilia 2011 Shiver 750 motorcycleAprilia Shiver 750
"Race-inspired" and "comfortable ride" are phrases we usually don't see used together when referring to a motorcycle. Quoting from Aprilia - The 2011 750 Shiver's sportier styling guarantees a comfortable ride on short or long trips. Really? Guaranteed? The V-90 engine is claimed to put out 95 horsepower and 81 Nm of torque and includes multi-map ride by wire technology allowing the rider to choose from sport, touring or rain settings. The short windscreen, upright controls and less than torturous seating look interesting to me. With an MSRP of $8999, the Aprilia Shiver could be an attractive mid-sized sport-tourer.

BMW R1200R Classic MotorcycleBMW R1200R Classic
I have a weakness for BMW boxer-engined motorcycles, I admit it. "The Brick" BMW engine just never really hit home for me. The new R1200R Classic has spoke wheels and metallic black paintwork and a plain white stripe, both of which add to to the "classic" look for me. Of course there is the telelever front end with a new fork structure. The engine is now a double overhead camshaft design and horsepower has been raised to 110 horses. There are options for electronic suspension adjustment (ESA), anti-lock brakes and automatic stability control (ASC). Looks like a great "standard" configuration motorcycle. BMW is not listing a price at this time.

BMW G650GS MotorcycleBMW 650GS
Ooooo, a lighter "adventure" bike from BMW. Yes, I know it's not a boxer engine, but I'll forgive that in this machine to get the light weight and lower seat height. The liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine displaces 652cc and has double overhead camshafts, fuel injection, twin-spark ignition and a closed-loop catalytic converter. This results in 48 horses and low emissions with high fuel economy. There are three available seat heights: low at 29.5 inches, regular at 30.7 inches, and high at 32.2 inches. Heck, the 30.7 inch "regular" is better for me than most other adventure bikes out there and this is a BMW! No price listed.   

Honda CBR250R MotorcycleHonda CBR250R
Yes! At long last some more competition for the Kawasaki Ninja 250. Honda is bringing the US market the CBR250R which is a fuel injected, light weight, user-friendly sporty machine. Kawasaki has been putting Ninja 250s on the street here since the last ice age. It's a great small machine. I own one and love it. Last year I spent some time with a Hyosung GT250 naked, a fuel-injected twin, and really liked it. At $3,699 it's less expensive than either the Ninja or CBR250 (both are priced at $3,999) but Hyosung is far from an established brand in the mind of most North American buyers. Honda has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding quality and I'm hoping this new 250 is well received. With a single-cylinder engine, it should offer up more torque than the Kawasaki and it has a low seat height of 30.5 inches. If it can match the fun factor of the Ninja and Hyosung GT250, this should be a killer little machine.

Triumph Speed Triple MotorcycleTriumph Speed Triple
What is a "streetfighter" (in motorcycle terms)? If you said stubby, aggressive and powerful, you're probably thinking of the Triumph Speed Triple. The 2011 version is a new model with an all-new chassis and 1050cc triple-cylinder engine. I'm looking forward to a spin on this machine because I expect some great real-world performance that's useable on the street and a riding position that won't make a chiropractor a rich person. At $11,799 it should be a lot of bang for the buck. 

Ural sT MotorcycleUral sT
Simple, versatile, classic. Most of us associate the brand Ural with sidecar rigs. The sT is the Russian manufacturer's interpretation of the universal motorcycle. The idea here is a simple bike that can do just about anything - gravel to pavement, city to highway, the sT will likely see you through. In a world (and marketplace) of specialized machines, I'm glad to see generalized entry and a classic one at that. At $6,999 (for the base model) one of these could find it's way into my garage, as long my wife doesn't see it getting there...

Yamaha Super Tenere MotorcycleYamaha Super Tenere
Another interesting adventure machine. Equipped with a fuel-injected and compact 1199cc parallel twin engine, the Super Tenere is designed for carving tight lines in twisty mountain roads... or getting around the alleyways in the warehouse district. I like the idea of some non-pavement capabilities in a machine that doesn't sacrifice comfort on the road. I mean most of us have to GET TO those twisties by means of conventional streets and highways. The Super Tenere offers adjustable seat height and windscreen, tunable front and rear suspension, low-maintenance shaft drive and an engine with the juice to generate some significant fun. At $13,900, Yamaha isn't giving them away, but it looks like a lot of machine for your dollar.

Those are some of the new for 2011 bikes that look interesting. I'm sure there are more coming up (hmmmm, like a cruiser maybe) and with any luck we'll be able to give reviews and riding impressions here in future issues. I'm just glad to see the motorcycle manufacturers keeping the US marketplace interesting during tough economic times. Hopefully, 2011 will signal a return to growth for motorcycles and scooter in the US.

David Harrington


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