Author: Ben Purvis Posted: 12 Jul 2015
The bikes you can expect to see in 2016
AS we enter the second half of 2015 all eyes are starting to focus on what new models are set to make their debuts over the coming months as the world’s bike firms unveil their 2016 ranges.
We’ve gathered intelligence and rumour from around the world to pull together a list of what we’re expecting to see between now and the end of the year. It may not be definitive – every manufacturer always hopes to spring a surprise or two – but it should give a good idea of how the big bikes shows will look later this year, and what will be stocked in 2016’s showrooms.
So, in alphabetical order, this is what we’re expecting to see:
The unstoppable rise of the adventure bike is fast meaning that every manufacturer needs at least one, if not several, in their ranges and Benelli’s Chinese owners are keen to create a mid-sized machine to rival the likes of Honda’s CB500X. The parallel twin BJ500GS has already been prototyped and while there’s no official announcement as yet it’s likely to be given its first show airings later this year. Let’s hope that by then its styling looks a little prettier than the hideous first attempt shown here. It’s powered by a bored-out version of the firm’s BN302 parallel twin, which gains 200cc for the new bike. The current name, BJ500GS, is a model code that’s likely to change for the production version.
Most of the world’s bike brands are desperately trying to increase their presence in the huge Indian market either with subsidiary operations or tie-ins with existing Indian companies, and BMW has chosen the latter by linking up with TVS for its new 300cc single. The most recently-spied prototypes have looked virtually finished, suggesting its launch can’t be far off now. The new BMW is codenamed K03 and due to be sold worldwide. A 300cc single in a market that’s increasingly populated with twins, the BMW has some interesting ideas including a reverse cylinder head and a rearward-tilted cylinder.
When BMW first showed the R NineT retro bike it probably expected it to be something of a niche, boutique model, but its sales have proven to be remarkably strong and now the firm is rushing to offer a cheaper version that cashes in on the retro scrambler trend. Due to appear later this year, the R1200 Scrambler is to be a toned-down R NineT, with cheaper right-way-up forks and lower spec brakes, allied to a high-level exhaust and some more mass-made componentry to help make it an entry-level bike in the boxer range.
Spied on multiple occasions and now revealed as a ‘concept’ bike in the form of the Concept 101, the K1600-based bagger – and a topbox-equipped tourer version with a more Goldwing-style pillion seat – is set for production next year as the firm makes a new attempt at gaining traction in the American cruiser market. The six-cylinder, 160bhp engine might be light years from the air-cooled V-twins that still dominate, but has a character of its own that could help it steal sales from the likes of the Honda F6C Valkyrie and F6B, even if Harley-Davidson isn’t shaking in its boots.
Scrambler derivatives and more
Italy’s foremost brand has been surprisingly quiet so far this year after a storm of new models launched at the end of 2014. Back then, the Panigale, Diavel and Multistrada were heavily revamped and the whole Scrambler sub-brand was launched, all preceded by plenty of spy shots and marketing hype. Since then, the new model rumours have been subdued but there’s strong money on the Scrambler range being expanded following its astounding sales success. A larger-engined version is widely expected at some stage.
Elsewhere in Ducati’s line-up, don’t be surprised to see revisions to the 899 Panigale, while the elephant in the room is the Streetfighter, which is out of whack with the rest of the line-up in terms of styling, technology and engine. With massively-powerful naked bikes an up-and-coming class thanks to the likes of the BMW S1000R, Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR and KTM Super Duke 1290, surely we’re due for a new, Panigale-derived Streetfighter?
The last few years have seen Harley revamp its Dyna, Softail and Touring lines with some serious under-the-skin changes and it looks like 2016 will be the turn of the rather neglected V-Rod line up. Currently there are just two versions of H-D’s 1247cc water-cooled, DOHC twin on sale – the V-Rod Muscle and the Night Rod Special. We hear that 2016 will see the return of the sportiest name in the V-Rod’s 15-year history in the form of the Street Rod. Originally sold for just a couple of years in 2006 and 2007, the Street Rod was a surprisingly capable handler with decent performance and a ‘European’ riding position. Don’t expect a simple reboot of the old version, though – the new Street Rod is likely to have new components throughout.
The wildest Harley in recent memory was the Destroyer, a drag racer that could be ordered in strip-ready form from any Harley dealer. Now Harley has re-established its trademark rights over the Destroyer name, suggesting it’s got ideas to build a new version in the near future. Given the likelihood of a new Street Rod, a Destroyer version makes a lot of sense as it’s sure to build a lot of publicity around the more accessible, street-legal machine.
Eric Buell Racing might have folded but its most significant legacy might well be the forthcoming Hero HX250R single-cylinder sports bike, designed by EBR and due to be made by its former shareholders Hero in India. Unlike previous Hero models, which were only sold in India, the HX250R is due to be offered worldwide as a rival to more established brands’ small sports bikes.
There’s no secret about the existence of the new Africa Twin even though technical details are still shrouded in mystery. The latest in a list of bikes to risk being over-hyped before it’s even officially unveiled, the AT has been subject of a publicity campaign since Honda first showed its ‘True Adventure’ concept last Autumn. What we do know is that there’s a 1000cc parallel twin in there, making something around 110bhp, with clever packaging to help keep the bike smaller and lighter than its rivals. This is supposed to have real off-road ability, rather than simply being a high-rise road-going tourer.
Africa Twin may be the current centre of Honda’s attention, but the VFR1200F was at the centre of an even greater media focus at its launch back in 2009. It’s had only the mildest of tweaks since then and we hear that the 2016 model is set to benefit from a series of modifications to keep it competitive. One key element is believed to be a slight restyle, with new headlights and an overhaul of the bike’s technology to make sure it’s still a pioneering model when it comes to gadgetry.
701 Supermoto and Enduro
It started with a concept bike in 2013, followed by a preview of the production-spec 701 Supermoto last year, and in 2016 Husqvarna’s KTM-690-in-drag is finally set to be available. And alongside the supermoto version we’ll be seeing an enduro model. Of course, if you’re not bothered about the Husqvarna badge, both bikes are effectively available already in the form of the KTM 690 SMC R and 690 Enduro R. Only bodywork and a few other details set them apart from the forthcoming Huskies.
Vitpilen and Svartpilen
Just like the 701, this pair appeared first as concepts. There’s no doubt that the KTM Duke 390-derived machines were among the stars of last year’s show season, and production is already a certainty. It might be closer to 2017 before we see the final versions, but the cafe-racer-style Vitpilen has already been spied on test, complete with clip-on bars and KTM frame and engine. Eventually, there will be 125cc and 200cc models as well as the 375cc “401” models that were previewed by the concept bikes, all based on KTM Duke engines and frames.
Hyosung’s GT650R is a marmite bike, dismissed by some as a cheap Suzuki SV650 clone while others champion its low price and value for money. However, few would argue it’s anything but rather old these days. Not for long, though, since a resigned version – keeping the old V-twin engine but wrapping it in funky new styling a-la GD250R – is due in 2016.
Mid-way between the new GD250R and the forthcoming GT650R replacement will sit the new GD400R. Based on the GD250R’s chassis and a bigger version of its single-cylinder engine, this could be the bike to worry KTM’s RC390 in terms of small sportsters. A naked rival to the Duke 390 is also virtually certain, although it might take until 2017 for all the derivatives to be ready.
Already shown, the GD125R is a water-cooled replacement for the existing GT125R, with interesting styling that puts many of its rival small sports bikes to shame. There’s a hint of KTM RC390 about it, but the angular bodywork and twin headlights which sit underneath the nose aren’t copies of any rival machine and arguably look more distinctive than most mainstream 125cc sports bikes.
Due imminently, the Indian Springfield is another derivative of the firm’s Chief range, which already comprises the Chief, Chieftain, Dark Horse, Vintage and Roadmaster. It shares the same 1811cc twin and is likely to be a stripped-down, single-seat model. There’s no official word on the bike just yet, but it’s already passed American emissions tests, which led to the release of the documents that confirm its existence.
Can you believe it’s already been five years since Kawasaki’s technology-packed ZX-10R hit the market? Well, it has, making the current model the longest-lived variant since the ZX-10R first appeared in 2004. The new model is due to get tweaks to the engine, suspension and chassis, largely with racing in mind as the firm fights back against ever more restrictive WSBK regulations and aims to retain the dominance that has seen it win the majority of this year’s races.
Only a mild tweak here, in the form of Kawasaki’s ‘Active and Slipper’ clutch which works as a normal slipper clutch on the overrun but also helps pull the clutch plates together when the engine is pulling, meaning softer clutch springs can be used. The Versys already has the set-up and it’s likely to spread to the naked Z1000, too.
KTM is one of the leaders of the adventure bike pack but at the moment its twin-cylinder 1050 Adventure is the entry-level proposition. That’s set to change. An adventure-skewed machine built around the “690” single is looking likely, with at least one prototype having been spotted, albeit with no bodywork. Surely the final version will get Dakar rally inspired styling?
You know how the Superduke 1290 is perhaps the craziest model in KTM’s (already fairly loopy) range? Well that might not be the case for long, as the company has been spotted testing an SM-T derivative of the same bike, creating a near-200bhp sports-touring-supermoto.
Duke 125/200/390 updates
Further recent KTM spy pictures have revealed that the firm is working hard on new derivatives of the smallest Dukes, from the 125 to the 390. These are believed to be destined for a launch in mid-2016, when they’ll be branded as ‘2017’ models.
Another 390 derivative? Certainly. Believed to currently be testing under the codename ‘K22’ there’s a new 375cc single-cylinder KTM on the way, and while it’s not been spotted all indications are that it will be an adventure-styled machine. While a 375cc single might seem small it could turn out to be a lightweight, relatively cheap bike that’s ideal if you really have plans to ride into the back of beyond, with real off-road ability and little weight to hold it back.
California 1400 bagger
Remember Moto Guzzi’s MGX-21 concept bike? No? It was a carbon-fibre-coated bagger based on the California 1400, with a nose cowl and a massive 21-inch front wheel to give it its name. Incredibly, something very similar is heading for production. It will lose the carbon fibre and the rear bodywork will be closer to the existing Audace version with removable panniers added, but the nose cowl and massive front wheel are set to stay.
Something of a mystery, this one, but Guzzi documents have made open reference to a new 900cc engine that’s thought to be set to replace the 744cc twin in the V7 range. Will those models – which have just been updated including revised frame geometry – turn into V9s next year? We’ll have to wait and see.
New F4 and Brutale
A third generation of F4 is on the verge of taking a bow when MV Agusta’s all-new four-cylinder platform is revealed at the end of this year. Details are scant, but we understand the engine is new or heavily revised and sits in a redesigned frame that will form the basis of a whole range of models, just as the three-cylinder 800cc motor is used in the F3, Brutale 800, Dragster, Rivale, Stradale and Turismo Veloce. Initially there will be four models – with the F4 and Brutale surely leading the way. Don’t be surprised if we see four-cylinder equivalents of the Dragster, Rivale/Stradale and Turismo Veloce, too.
Royal Enfield has realised that its British heritage could be a useful tool and has set up an entire R&D operation in the UK, buying Harris Performance and luring a host of Triumph engineers to a new facility in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire to work on British-developed bikes, with styling from Pierre Terblanche and big decisions from ex-Triumph product planner Simon Warburton. Designed as a retro-style adventure bike, powered by a new single-cylinder engine of around 400cc, the Himalayan’s main target is still the Indian market but it could be a promising option for people looking for a tough commuter machine.
It might not be ready until 2017 but one thrust of R.E.s British development arm is a new parallel twin engine of around 750cc that will eventually appear in a range of bikes targeting Triumph’s Bonneville. The brand’s British heritage, combined with development done in this country, could be enough to overcome the impression of being cheap, Indian-made machines (remember, plenty of Triumphs emerge from factories in Thailand). Eventually we can expect naked bikes, cafe racers, even cruisers based around the new engine, which is also understood to be under development in the UK.
Dare we dream that the GSX-R1000 will finally be replaced with a new model in 2016? There’s certainly some evidence to support the idea, not least the firm’s ambitious and impressive new MotoGP project that’s already managed to take a pole position in its first season of racing. A large number of patents, seemingly showing the GSX-RR GP bike but making mention of road-going production machines, have also been filed over the last few months, suggesting that the firm is hoping to take the technologies from the racer and apply them to a new GSX-R1000. Fingers crossed.
The rumours are hard to substantiate at the moment but there has been talk that the Hayabusa is set to enter its third generation in 2016. The timing is certainly about right, since the current shape bike went on sale in 2008, making it nearly as old as the original version was when it was replaced. And despite the influx of 1000cc superbikes that match it for straight line speed, there’s still a strong following for the Busa’s remarkable sports-touring abilities. Suzuki’s been going through a rough time, so we’re not going to stake our reputation on a lot of new models for 2016, but a new Busa would certainly be a halo worth having.
It’s hard to know if it will be ready in 2016 or delayed until the market is more mature but Suzuki has been working hard on an electric bike that’s similar to its Extrigger concept. Could be an interesting proposition, albeit as a toy rather than a serious mode of transport.
Suzuki’s turbocharged twin-cylinder Recursion concept wasn’t just something to prop up the firm’s stand at Tokyo in late 2013. There are strong indications that Suzuki is developing the 100bhp, 588cc twin into a viable production machine, possibly reviving the Gamma or Katana name tags. Will it be ready for 2016? We hope so.
We’ve seen the spy shots and there’s no doubt that the all-new Bonneville is virtually ready for launch – which just leaves the question as to how many different versions there will be. A ‘T100’ style model, with wire wheels and sporty exhausts allied to convincing retro looks, has been seen, as has a cafe-racer style bike – the new Thruxton – and a far sportier model with Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes. There’s also the recently-spied bobber version. All gain a completely new engine, partially water-cooled, that still manages to look convincingly retro while promising far improved performance. Once the new Bonnie is in full swing, we can expect a Scrambler replacement, too, as well as new cruiser models to fill the shoes of the Speedmaster and America cruisers. Triumph has a busy year ahead.
The Bonnie might be its main focus, but Triumph as also found time to redesign the Speed Triple with new looks and a revamped engine to meet future emissions rules and add modern gizmos like traction control and multiple engine modes.
Those engine mods made for the Speed Triple? Oh yes, they’re going to slide straight into the Tiger Sport as well. So far we haven’t seen styling changes or any other tweaks, but the bike has been spotted testing with the new engine bolted to its unchanged frame.
Blimey, is there nothing Triumph isn’t modifying for 2016? The Explorer is certainly set to get a big batch of changes including new styling with a redesigned nose and side panels, new semi-active suspension – probably set to be optional – and a redesigned set of instruments.
Remember Brammo, the American firm that was among the pioneers of electric bike development? Well its motorcycle division was bought earlier this year by Polaris, parent company to Victory and Indian. With Indian now leading the firm’s attack on the cruiser market it’s aiming to make Victory a sportier, more modern company and among its products will be an electric bike, likely to be based on the former Brammo Empulse. It raced a rebranded Brammo at this year’s TT Zero under the Victory name and has registered the trademark ‘Victory Charger’ for a new electric production bike, suggesting its launch is getting close.
The second string to Victory’s repositioning as a sportier brand will be a new 1200cc V-twin model using an engine developed from the Indian Scout’s DOHC water-cooled motor. Retuned for far more performance than the Indian, we’ve had a sneak preview of the engine in the Roland Sands designed Victory 156 Pikes Peak race bike. The production model won’t share the Sands bike’s chassis or styling, but the engine is expected to be much the same.
The CFMoto NK650, also known as the WK Bikes 650i, is a Chinese-made parallel twin that takes its inspiration from Kawasaki’s ER6. Despite being seen as something of a copycat, it’s been the basis of Gary Johnson’s lightweight TT machine for the last couple of years. For 2016 the bike is expected to get a full restyle with sleeker bodywork, while remaining largely unchanged underneath.
Based on the same engine as the 650i, the TR is the firm’s tourer, and at under £4500 is an intriguing proposition in the sub-Deauville end of the market. As with the naked bike, a redesigned version has been patented in China by CFMoto, with distinctly BMW-ish styling that gives it a much more modern appearance
Will the R6 finally get the revamp we’ve been waiting so long for? The evidence is stacking up to suggest it will, although at the moment there’s been nothing in the way of spy pictures to confirm it. Yamaha’s supersport machine is usually updated within a year of changes to the R1, and with the bigger bike being given an all-new replacement for 2015, the R6 is surely due. There’s also been a surprising upturn in the previously-flagging sales for such machines; incredibly, the existing R6 is now Yamaha’s best-seller in America. The big, unanswered question is whether the next version of the bike will be an updated take on the current model or, as some have suggested, an all-new three-cylinder 675cc model.
Whether it goes under the ‘Tracer’ name like the touring-oriented MT-09 or gets a moniker of its own, Yamaha is readying a faired version of the smash-hit MT-07 complete with adjustable screen and optional luggage that will massively extend its already-significant appeal.
It won’t look much like Shinya Kimura’s ‘Faster Son’ concept bike but Yamaha is understood to be developing a retro-style variant of the MT-07, possibly in the cafe racer mould, as part of its plan to extend the use of the parallel twin, 689cc motor into more machines.
PES1 and PED1
Concept bikes rarely make the jump into production but Yamaha has effectively confirmed that its PES1 sportsbike and PED1 dirtbike will be ready for 2016. Back in early 2014, shortly after the two concepts appeared, the firm’s official annual report with the line “…we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in two years with the development of the PES1 as well as the PED1…” Yamaha, in 2016 your two years are up.
Yes, there’s been an MT-03 before but that old Tenere-engined single has nothing to do with the new model, which will effectively be a naked version of the 321cc YZF-R3 parallel twin. Already launched elsewhere in the world in 250cc form as the MT-25, the European version is expected to get the same engine upgrades as the fully-faired bike, including the 72cc capacity bump that boosts power from the 250’s 35bhp to 42bhp.
Which are you looking forward to seeing? or !