It’s that time of year again. That time when the decorations go up, you’re fighting through the crowds to get your shopping done and a certain department store with the initials J and L are serving full-on schmaltz with its adverts…
Yes, Christmas preparations are in full swing but while we’re loathed to call ourselves humbugs, let’s just say - from a two-wheel perspective at least - we’re more excited about what’s in our proverbial motorcycle-shaped stockings for 2023.
We’ve had a rash of new launches in recent weeks to whet our appetite, so here are 12 of the most exciting new motorcycles we cannot wait to unwrap in 2023, in no particular order.
Due: February 2023
After a 12-month trickle of teasers and sneaky previews, the Honda Hornet (or Honda CB750 when it’s naughty) buzzed into view at Intermot to great fanfare.
While the final product didn’t exactly blow us away - probably because the drawn-out ramping of anticipation had us expecting something more exciting - function ultimately trumps form in the volume-dictated middleweight class.
Truth is, the finer details of the rakish design are more effective in the flesh than in photos but the beauty of the Hornet comes under the skin anyway. Indeed, the Hornet marks Honda’s return to the mid-capacity twin arena with a brand-new 750cc platform.
Coming in at a feathery 190kg, the Hornet should make brisk progress when combined with its 90bhp to prove itself as an adept and nimble commuter run-around, while being refined and mature on the open road at weekends.
Due: February 2023 [India]
Having persevered with offering only the Interceptor and Continental GT models since their launch in 2018, Royal Enfield’s 650 twin platform gets its first spin-off in 2023 in the form of the Super Meteor 650.
Buoyed by the runaway success of its smaller Meteor 350, the Super Meteor 650 represents a grander, more mature and more powerful rendition of the popular cruiser.
Pumping out 46bhp and 49Nm of torque, the Super Meteor 650 should play on its siblings’ reputation for providing cool, unhurried, easy-riding, all at a cost that will almost certainly undercut other retro-themed rivals.
Due: Spring 2023
You wait (many) years for a new middleweight Suzuki to appear, then two come along at once.
Indeed, it was two for the price of one at EICMA as Suzuki pulled the wraps off the much-anticipated GSX-8S (see below) and this, the Suzuki V-Strom 800DE.
Kicking out 83.1bhp, the V-Strom 800DE keeps things in check with a host of gadgets to keep things planted on the road but also accentuate the model’s off-road credentials, Suzuki having steered the DR Big-inspired model more towards the off-road segment, rather than its touring-angled V-Twin cousin, which will remain on offer in the range alongside it.
As a result, the 800DE - while still recognisably a V-Strom - looks beefier and more rugged than before, while incorporating Suzuki’s new signature style of a squared-off front-end and stacked headlights.
Due: End of 2023
And now for something a little different…
Proving that the humdrum scooter needn’t be all about function over form, the reborn Italjet Dragster certainly cuts a dash as it carves through the city streets while turning plenty of heads.
With demand having outstripped supply of the entry-level 125 and 200cc versions, the Italian firm is ramping things up with Italjet Dragster 500GP.
Capitalising on its association with newly retired thrice MotoGP runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, the 500GP makes use of a single-cylinder 450cc engine pumping out 43bhp across a six-speed gearbox.
Erring more towards a slimline, easier to ride motorcycle than a maxi-scooter, the Dragster 500GP scraps the 125/200 models’ hub-centre front suspension in favour of a more conventional USD set-up, while the engine sits under the seat rather than above the rear wheel.
Of course, Italjet hasn’t tinkered too much with the show-stopping design, which continues to look like the most exciting, oversized Meccano set we’ll ever clasp our eyes on.
Due: Early 2023
While tourers, cruisers, baggers and bobbers are Indian’s bread and butter, the American firm showed us in 2019 that it still knows how to party with the launch of the flat tracker inspired FTR1200.
Four years on and the firm has given its rip-roaring naked-style model a substantial update for 2023 and launched the brand-new ‘Sport’ variant to replace the outgoing ‘S’.
That gives you a clue as to the FTR1200’s primary objective with Indian fettling the revised chassis with upgraded Brembo brakes and improved clutch, which should ensure a more involving riding experience, while the 1203cc V-Twin engine produces 123bhp at 7750rpm.
On the surface, the FTR1200 gains a more impactful aesthetic with a more angular take on the front-end and engine casing design, finished off by that mammoth twin muffler towards the rear.
Due: On the road 2023 [Sales 2024]
Arguably the most intriguing model we’re due to get our hands on at some stage in 2023, the as-yet-unnamed hybrid Kawasaki sportsbike has prompted plenty of questions since it emerged.
Though it took pride of place on Kawasaki’s stand at EICMA, bosses have remained very tight-lipped about exactly what it is packing, when it will go on sale and why it has invested so heavily in an alternative power form that other manufacturers rejected many years ago.
To bring you up to speed, this is a Hybrid that combines the power generated by a conventional ICE with that of a battery pack. The idea - as pioneered by the much-imitated Toyota Prius car - allows the motorcycle to use just battery power at lower speeds for better economy, before the fuel-powered ICE kicks in once you reach a certain speed.
Previous attempts to harness this technology for motorcycles have been held back by issues of greater weight, higher costs and difficult packaging.
Nevertheless, Kawasaki thinks it has hit on a trick (not that we know exactly what that is) and, for sure, in motion it’s certainly strange to witness the Hybrid accelerating silently before the rumble of an engine suddenly starts while it is in motion.
So why is Kawasaki developing a Hybrid motorcycle? Well, with many major cities and towns now introducing a ban on 100% ICE vehicles in central zones, Hybrid models get around this because they don’t emit harmful gases within urban speed limits. As a result, this is a way for customers - especially those cynical of full EV models - to lower their costs without losing top-end power on the open road.
Due: January 2023
We’ve waited a while for Ducati to drop its acclaimed V4 engine into its beefiest model - the Diavel - but that wait will soon be over.
Indeed, the brooding power cruiser has been due for an overhaul for a while now, so the Italian firm has marked the occasion by unveiling the fresh Ducati Diavel V4.
Following on from the Panigale and Multistrada V4s, Ducati showcases the Granturismo’s versatility by tweaking it to offer 162bhp and a whopping 123Nm of torque, while it features technology that shuts off two of the four cylinders when they aren’t needed for greater efficiency.
Rivalling the Triumph Rocket 3, the Diavel V4 trades some of its predecessors flowing, muscular lines for a sharper, edgier aesthetic, enhanced by accentuated front gills and a delicious-looking four-pot exhaust sprouting from the engine, while it is much lighter now too dropping from 244kg to 222kg
Due: 2023 TBA
If the CB750 Hornet doesn’t stir the soul, then how about Honda’s other nameplate-reviving product of its brand-new 750cc platform, the XL750 Transalp.
Honda’s long-awaited re-entry into the increasingly competitive middleweight adventure motorcycle class finally made its bow at EICMA, riding on the same lightweight foundation as the Hornet naked and equipped with the firm’s fresh 270-degree crank, twin-cylinder engine.
A more nimble, easier to ride alternative to the larger Africa Twin wearing a design inspired by the 2019 CB4X concept, the Transalp goes after the new Suzuki V-Strom 800DE, Yamaha Ténéré 700 and Aprilia Tuareg 660 with 90.5bhp at 9,500rpm and 75Nm of torque at 7,250rpm.
Suspension consists of a 43mm Showa SFF-CA upside-down fork up front and a Pro-Link rear shock, both with adjustable preload, while kit levels include selectable torque and integrated wheelie control.
BMW sets its sights on success both on and off the track in the ultra-competitive sportsbike class in 2023 with a dual-update for its S 1000 RR and M 1000 RR models.
Building on the aggressive look of the current model, BMW has emphasised the S 1000 RR’s racing credentials with a more tapered tail-end and added winglets to it for greater cornering downforce.
It’s under the skin where the big changes come though, with BMW squeezing power from 207hp to 210hp courtesy of a taller red line at 13,750rpm.
Arguably the most compliant and forgiving of the big 1000cc sportsbikes, the S 1000 RR benefits from electronic aides trickling down from the M 1000 RR, while the formerly optional ‘M Chassis Kit’ - which features an adjustable swingarm, revised rear shock and Dynamic Damping Control - is now standard.
To prevent the S 1000 RR venturing too far into the ‘hyper-sportsbike’ territory occupied by the flagship M 1000 RR, BMW has helpfully upgraded this model too.
Power is up to 211hp, which doesn’t sound like much over the standard model on paper, but in practice should ensure you shave tenths off your lap times thanks to its tweaked aerodynamics, resulting in less drag and more downforce.
BMW isn’t the only manufacturer chasing glory on track next season, though in Ducati’s case it has a championship-winning machine to build on.
Back on top of the world in WorldSBK following an 11-year wait, Ducati may have just won its 15th title courtesy of Alvaro Bautista but it’s not resting on its laurels with an upgraded 2023 Panigale V4 R winging its way to both the Spaniard and the general public.
The headline here is the increased power output to 237bhp - or 240.5bhp if you use a certain Shell-produced oil - from its 998cc engine (smaller than the Panigale V4 S as dictated by WorldSBK regulations) putting even more air between Ducati and its rivals muddling around the 200bhp mark.
The changes elsewhere are less significant, but this is hardly a surprise given the acclaim showered on the current model. It means the distinctively aggressive design is largely unchanged, while component tweaks are limited to front suspension with more travel and a softer rear shock.
So, just to recap, this is a 240.5bhp production motorcycle weighing 172kg. Just wow…
Due: Spring 2023
After 23 long years of service, the Suzuki SV650 has finally been updated.
Say hello to the all-new Suzuki GSX-8S, a fresh take on the middleweight class that is lightyears away from the SV650 through and through, even if the venerable - but still popular - V-Twin will remain on sale for those who can't get enough of its frisky charms.
Marking the belated debut of Suzuki’s new 800cc (well, 776cc to be accurate) architecture to replace the aged but still revered 650cc V-Twin platform, the GSX-8S (and V-Strom 800) with their parallel-twin configuration are set to represent very different propositions to its predecessor.
What they ‘might’ lose in character, they will gain in efficiency with the GSX-8S proving a more powerful proposition at 81.8bhp, pushing it right up against the new Honda Hornet and Triumph Trident.
Gaining a distinctive new style, the GSX-8S appears like a mash up between the Hornet and the Yamaha MT-07 with its sharp, layered front-fairing, squinting side lights and stacked front beams.
Due: Spring 2023
One of Triumph’s most popular models, while there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with the current Street Triple 765, it hasn’t stopped the British marque from having a go at improving the package for 2023.
Already the ultimate representation of ‘sporty premium’, Triumph hasn’t deviated too far from the sharp yet subtle look of the outgoing Street Triple 765, but benefits from some finer attention to detail in the new belly pan, more aggressive front-end and creased fairing.
Under the skin, the potent 765cc engine has been given a power hike influenced by Triumph’s association with Moto2, with the entry-level R producing the same 123bhp of the former RS, while the new RS ranks as the most powerful naked in its class with 130bhp on tap.
Defining the RS in particular as a street bike for the track, it gets upgraded Brembo brakes and switchable cornering traction control and more dynamic throttle maps.
And if you’re quick, you’ll be able to order a launch special edition ‘Moto2’ variant, of which 765 units of each colour (Racing Yellow & Racing White) will be available for a limited time only. It gets special Moto2 branding, a numbered yoke and clip-on handlebars.