Thanks to our video sponsor, Dainese.
By comparison to recent years, 2022’s line-up of new powered two-wheelers doesn’t match up in terms of big headliners. New 200bhp+ supernaked? No. Brand new super sexy super-duper bike? No. Incredible electric developments? No.
But is that really an issue? Headline writers (like us) and social media commentators get off on inconceivable power figures, an unimaginable armoury of rider aids, and technological advances that leave their ghast never so flabbered. On the flip side, the majority of 2022’s new bike customers will be looking for something shiny and new but also practical, comfortable, rewarding, easy to use. And that’s where the manufacturers seem to have struck a chord. The 30th anniversary Honda Fireblade has been fettled, Ducati has updated the Panigale V4 and even Yamaha’s MT-10 upgrades look significant. However, the majority of new metal has a more universal attraction.
Speaking of Yamaha, unfortunately the Japanese giant decided to focus on the annual EICMA show in Milan instead of Motorcycle Live so we couldn’t consider the likes of the new Yamaha R7, Ténéré 700 Rally Edition or the MT-10 SP in our line-up because our focus was firmly on what we could see, touch and sit on at the NEC. Mainly because we joined forces with Bike World to film this Top 10 introduction.
The Piaggio Group (Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Vespa and Piaggio) was also absent as was fellow Italian marque, MV Agusta, so the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello and MV Agusta Lucky Explorer duo weren’t there, and the NEC came too soon for Ducati’s Panigale V4S and DesertX. Nevertheless, we still had plenty to choose from so here are Chris Northover and Michael Mann’s top five each, in no particular order:
We start on the Triumph stand, and my first pick is the Triumph Tiger 1200 – which was unveiled to the public during Motorcycle Live. It’s clear from the outset that Triumph has had a single-minded approach to the development of the 2022 Tiger 1200 range: to beat BMW’s R 1250 GS in every way and Triumph has thrown everything it’s effort; a project which started four years ago.
While the Tiger 1200 name is carried over from the 2022 model’s predecessor, that’s about all the bikes share. The new model is a clean-sheet design, with a purpose-made engine, new chassis, transmission, suspension, electronics and styling. Triumph says the intention was to make a bike that felt like the Tiger 900 but offered more in every respect.
The range is five-strong, split into two clear categories. The three ‘GT’ models are road-biased, with cast alloy wheels, 19in front, 18in rear. Two ‘Rally’ machines have 21in front, 18in rear wire wheels, making for a more off-road-oriented look.
Within those categories, the bikes are split again, into ‘Pro’ – with a 20-litre tank and slimmer bodywork – or ‘Explorer’ with 30 litres of fuel capacity and brawnier looks. The fifth Tiger 1200 is an entry-level stripped model, simply called the Tiger 1200 GT, shorn of much of the equipment you get with the GT Pro, GT Explorer, Rally Pro or Rally Explorer but coming in at a surprisingly low price of £14,660. Meanwhile, at the top of range is the Rally Explorer at £19,100. The bikes will be UK dealerships in April.
It’s no secret that I have a thing for trials bikes, it’s also no secret that I’ve got a bit of thing for electric bikes. So, when the two things get combined it puts a massive smile on my face. EM (Electric Motion) has had an electric full sized trials bike available for a good number of years now but what’s exciting is that this new model has had a big update and made it even closer to a full petrol trials bike than it’s ever been before. It’s now kind of a really good alternative, particularly if you’re a clubman rider. The price is actually very competitive; it’s within £500 - £1000 of what you’d pay for the equivalent gasoline bike.
This new E-Motion Pure Race has got a couple of really cool features. It has a diaphragm clutch which gives it a proper clutch feel, which is when you’re riding trials, is super important. Secondly is the tickover feature, so when you’re riding those slower sections and trying to do that fine clutch control, it gives you a really good familiar feeling especially if you come from a normal motorbike.
A new Norton has been born since TVS took the firm over in April 2020 and only last month we got to see inside the new factory and speak to the Chief Executive who has the unenviable task of rebuilding the brand. And this is one of the bikes the Norton team think will help. OK, it’s only a prototype but it marks the next step in the evolution of the V4 – it’s called the V4CR, or Café Racer.
Norton didn’t just whip the fairings off the V4SV, its tail unit has been re-sculpted, a single round headlight, belly pan and revised radiator cowls and side-mounted air intakes are other obvious differences, and with a power figure of 185hp it’s definitely more streetfighter than café racer, though the riding position with high seat and low bars certainly point towards the latter. I’m not allowed to sit on it as its one of one…
There’s no indication when it might become a production version but of course, to be homologated for road use, it’ll need indicators, lights, mirrors, a registration plate and an emissions / noise limit-friendly exhaust system, so don’t get too excited about the way this prototype looks.
New for 2022 is the new Suzuki Katana with the new GSX-S1000 engine. The original Suzuki Katana was a bit before my time and one that my dad’s mates talked about, but the styling has stuck with me since being a kid. Most modern retro bikes focus on that café racer thing from the 60s so it’s cool to see someone doing the 80s vibe with the weird, pointy Tron-like futuristic fairing.
Obviously, the Katana has been around for a few years now in its latest guise but for this year it gets the newest engine from the GSX-S1000 with 152hp and a bi-directional quickshifter.
Looks cool, goes like stink and in grey it matches a Welsh summers day perfectly.
Just two years after the madness of the 200bhp+ Streetfighter V4 comes a baby brother that’s theoretically more manageable and easier to ride, though it’s still got more power than Carl Fogarty had on his title winning Ducati World Superbike…!
It’s the same 955cc 90-degree twin-cylinder as used in the Panigale V2 making 153hp in this form, with a dry weight of just 178kg. The gearing has been altered to give this naked version more oomph off the line, and there’s the usual array of electronic assistance and options with riding modes, traction control, wheelie control, engine brake control choices at your disposal.
There’s Pirelli rubber, Brembo brakes and adjustable Showa forks but for all the equipment it does have, there’s no heated grips or cruise control and the TFT dash is tiny.
It’ll be in dealerships for £14,995, and you can even have wings, just like its big brother. But they’re an option on the Streetfighter V2 and will set you back about £1000 extra!
REVIEWED: Adam ‘Chad’ Child has already ridden the Streetfighter V2 for us and this is his review
It was always predictable that I was going to pick a big, silly adventure bike from the show, it’s one of my favourite forms of riding. I’m not sure how but I seem to picking quite a few bikes with quirky styling but this, for me, the Husqvarna Norden, is obviously Husqvarna’s version of the KTM 890 Adventure. It’s an absolutely phenomenal looking thing and what I like about both those bikes is that engine, which I’ve ridden in the KTM, I absolutely love. There’s really good power, really driveable down low at low rpm. As an adventure bike for riding technical stuff in Wales as well as riding fast, flowing trails in Europe, it’s a good all-round package.
They’ve done a lot of work with it with the low-slung tanks to get the weight low done and in all honestly, and I know I shouldn’t say this, but styling is a massive part of a bike. With the KTM, I love riding it but every time I walk away from it, I just can’t get on with the looks. This one, whilst very quirky and a bit contemporary, I could walk away from it and be happy that that’s my bike. Even for that styling alone that enough to make me more excited about this one and the fact that Chad got to ride one on some incredible terrain at the launch, I got massive FOMO so I’m now desperate to get myself on a Norden and give it some proper sending through the forests.
OK, so this choice may look like it doesn’t fit the criteria given that Kawasaki H2 SX has been around since 2018 but the 2022 version gets some interesting upgrades because following Kawasaki’s 2019 announcement of a deal with Bosch to adopt the Germany company’s radar assistance, here is the first model to do so. The H2 SX sports tourer gets a revamp which includes both front and rear radar technology as standard on both the SX and SX SE models which help with three distance monitoring systems: Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Detection.
Radars have been available on other machines for a year now, notably Ducati, BMW and KTM but this is by far the neatest integration we’ve seen.
It’s also had a bit of a restyle with a new headlight and reshaped air intakes, and also comes with a new ‘SPIN’ smartphone-linked display with a 6.5” TFT that incorporates around 20 apps including navigation, weather, music and contacts.
The SX is available from £20,949 while the top spec SX SE goes all the way to £25,799.
The 1290 SuperDuke R is a stupid motorcycle that’s a massive smile on my face every time I think about it. The GT is a little bit more useable – it’s got 175hp-ish but it’s one that’s got a load of rider aids on it, it’s got a much more comfortable seat, bigger screen, it’s a far more useable package and that’s what makes this bike so exciting. I’ve spent a long time looking for my ultimate sports-touring motorcycle and normally I come away wanting something either more sporty or more touring. I’ve not found something that strikes the balance. Now the old KTM 990 SMT was one of my favourite bikes that got it right for me, and I’m hoping the 1290 SuperDuke GT will give me the same feeling but with a tonne more horsepower.
I was going to bring you to the 2022 Honda Fireblade and talk you through its updates for 2022 but I’ve already snuck in one ‘updated’ model into my choices so here we are aboard Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT – a sports tourer to take on Japanese competitors in the shape of Yamaha’s Tracer 9GT, Kawaskai’s Ninja 1000 SX and the new Honda NT1100.
Available right now from £11,750 which is in the same ballpark as its rivals but with 150bhp from its inline four 999cc motor, it certainly the most powerful. It’s also very comfortable, well-equipped with a smashing dash that can be hooked up to your phone, as is the norm on many new machines.
There’s no centre stand, the screen isn’t adjustable and even heated grips are an option. But, it’s smart, it’s fast, it’s comfortable and has oodles of luggage space in these colossal panniers. It’ll be one to watch in this category and I’m looking forward to pitching it against the three we mentioned earlier.
Simon Hargreaves spent a couple of days in Scotland on the launch of the bike and here’s how he got on.
This is quite a grown-up bike for me to like but the 1600GT is special for me because it has a gigantic 6-cylinder engine and I rode the very first one of these and as far as big touring ones go, it was a hell of a lot of fun. If you’ve got to do a big, long European Tour, especially two-up, and it you can get one that still has some fight and excitement, like a 6-cylinder engine, then that is a big win.
For this year, the K1600 has had a few updates; it’s got an all-new LED headlight package, obviously it still has its cornering adaptive cornering headlight. The dash has gone insane, it’s this great, big, widescreen dash to give you a little bit more clarity and more information on there. It’s got a whole bunch of new colours available but probably the most exciting thing is the engine. This engine makes 180Nm of torque, it’s a phenomenal amount of drive and they’ve modified it now that it makes that torque 1000rpm earlier, so less revving, more drive and it’s given it a little more punch in all situations. Plus, it has adjustable wings.
Keep your eyes peeled as we ride each of these ten over the course of 2022.
There are definitely fewer headline bikes this year, but noticeably more tourers and adventure models replacing the out-and-out sportsbikes which is a reflection on the current sales charts.
That and the smaller electric bikes and commuters. This Top 10 was nothing more than our favourites and tips for 2022’s hottest models as opposed to our predictions of the biggest sellers.
There’s likely to be plenty more models announced over the coming months which could take 2022 by storm, be they prototypes or full production models. Triumph has already talked about its TE1 project and there’ll be other electric or alternative powered models coming from mainstream manufacturers too, so keep your eyes out on Bike World and BikeSocial for more.
Thanks for joining us and feel free to get in touch if you feel we’ve missed something obvious.