Fans of two-wheeled transportation have had plenty to excite them in 2016 – new models, remakes and radical visions that could shake up the motorcycle industry.
Key trends included the continued popularity of naked or standard bikes, that is, stripped-back versions of superbikes without fairings or windscreens. Yamaha’s MT-10 for instance, offered a modern, aggressive take. Meanwhile enthusiasm for retro bikes grew, with British brands Triumph and Norton leading a revival of classically styled machines. Triumph’s Bonneville Bobber demonstrates how modern technologies can be both integrated and concealed.
As well as looking to the past, the motorcycle industry is addressing the need for future vehicles to adopt more efficient propulsion technologies. Italian firm Piaggio announced that it will release an electric version of the iconic Vespa in 2017, while Swiss company Zvexx unveiled a prototype for a hedonistic electric speed machine.
Looking even further ahead, some firms presented progressive concepts that embrace cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing for lightweight frames (APWorks’ Light Rider) and self-balancing safety assistance systems that prevent crashes (BMW’s Motorrad Vision Next 100).
This selection provides an overview of some of the top rides around this year, along with a few that might take a while to hit the road.
The first release from New York City firm Vanguard is a roadster targeted at the premium end of the motorcycle market. A utilitarian approach to the vehicle’s design has resulted in a clean aesthetic. A reduced number of parts also helps to bring down the price.
“We combine design and engineering to create our own language, without relying on heritage and nostalgia,” says the company’s co-founder and head of design, Edward Jacobs.
Vanguard has custom engineered many of the components used in the Roadster, enabling it to create consistency throughout its design.
Most of the parts are finished in raw aluminum to enhance its industrial appearance, while a carbon-fiber fuel tank, a flat screen displaying the instruments, and a rear-view parking camera introduce some distinctly contemporary details. The bike was presented at a recent International Motorcycle Show and is planned for production in 2018.
Swiss firm Zvexx produced this eye-catching prototype to demonstrate that electric motorcycles can deliver outstanding performance with the looks to match. The Zvexx P1 features radical aerodynamic bodywork made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber.
“With this bike, we demonstrate that an electric drive can look fierce and behave like a beast,” the bike’s designers say. “This is not a project in user-friendly cuteness but a fusion of raw, biker appeal and unbridled electric force.”
Promising “brutal acceleration,” its makers claim the P1 can reach 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) from a standing start in approximately three seconds.
The company may produce a limited series at some point in the future, but for now just a single P1 exists, cruising silently around the roads near Lake Geneva.
When Yamaha’s hotly anticipated MT-10 hit the roads earlier this year it didn’t disappoint, with many experts including it on their lists of the best motorcycles of 2016.
Distinctive bodywork and bug-eyed headlamps make for a machine that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the “Transformers” movies. The expressive styling isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it helps to enhance the raw, edgy super-naked look, and the combination of dark grey and fluorescent details is definitely on trend.
Built on the same engine and chassis platform as the brand’s R1, the MT-10 is tweaked to provide optimal performance on public roads. By stripping away some of the expensive materials and technologies employed in the R1, the MT-10 is also cheaper and stacks up well against rivals in the £10,000 ($12,280) price bracket.
Ducati 1299 Superleggera
For a combination of raw speed and contemporary racer styling, the new Ducati 1299 Superleggera is hard to beat, and the Italian firm’s latest superbike turned plenty of heads at the recent EICMA 2016 bike show in Milan.
The Superleggera is the most powerful twin-cylinder production bike Ducati has ever produced, and a focus on reducing weight and increasing power has resulted in the first factory bike to be equipped with a carbon-fiber frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels.
Ducati made some bold claims at the launch of the 1299 Superleggera, stating that it is the world’s most technologically advanced production superbike. The price of all this power, beauty and technology is £72,000 ($88,430), and the company says that all 500 units to be built have already sold.