Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Need to catch up on what’s been going on in the world of motorcycling over the last week? Here’s your five-minute briefing.
1: 2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 prices revealed
Kawasaki has completely revamped the Versys 1000 for 2019 adding ride-by-wire throttles to its 1043cc inline four and with them a host of electronic assistants.
Where its predecessor was severely short of the latest gadgets, the 2019 model has IMU-assisted cornering traction control and ABS, while the top-end SE model also gains semi-active, electronically-adjustable suspension.
There are hardware improvements as well as electronic ones, with the addition of radial-mount front calipers and LED headlights. And of course the bodywork has been completely reworked with Kawasaki’s latest family look.
If you’re expecting all this to add to the price, well, you’re right. But not by as big a margin as you might have thought.
Newly revealed 2019 UK prices show that the base Versys 1000 will have an RRP of £11,199, which is only £900 more than the old model costs. It’s going to be in dealers in December, too, so there isn’t long wait ahead.
If you want the better-equipped SE model, with the electronic suspension, heated grips, Kawasaki’s self-healing paint, multiple riding modes, hand-guards and a taller screen, the cost of entry is a rather higher £14,399. The Versys SE isn’t expected in dealers until February 2019, so you’ve got a bit of extra time to save up for it.
2: Triumph’s spate of winter offers
There’s no question that selling bikes in winter is an uphill struggle but the flipside for customers is that there are always deals on offer in the off-season.
Triumph has a few on the go at the moment. Buyers of the 2018-spec Street Twin, Street Scrambler and Street Cup, for instance, will get a £1000 voucher for the firm’s clothing and accessories. Does that make up for the fact that the 2018 Street Twin and Street Scrambler are nearly £10bhp down on the uprated 2019 equivalents, which also benefit from uprated Brembo brakes? That’s your call. When it comes to the Street Cup, we’ve yet to see a revised 2019 model, but if the model remains in the range it’s hard to believe it won’t also get the same changes.
Elsewhere in the range, there’s an offer of 6.9% finance on the Street Triple family until the end of the year, and the same rate on the Tiger 800 and 1200 until the end of November. On the Tiger 800 you’ll also benefit from a £500 deposit contribution, while those taking the deal on the Tiger 1200 get a £clothing and accessories voucher worth £900.
Speaking of accessories, the firm is offering discounts of up to 85% on a range of parts across its add-ons range until 14 December. Notable deals include Arrow silencers for the Tiger Explorer, down from £425 to only £127.50, and Bonneville flyscreen kits at £23 instead of the usual £76.67. The biggest saving of all comes on the Arrow ‘Low Boy’ exhaust for the Speed Triple; usually £966.67, it’s down to £290 (all prices exclusive of VAT). Whatever Triumph you’ve got, it’s worth a scan through the full list of reduced parts to see if there’s a bargain worth grabbing. Check out the complete listing here.
3: Suzuki’s got offers, too
Suzuki is using next week’s Motorcycle Live show as a platform for a range of short-lived offers that run only from Monday 19 November until ‘Black Friday’ on 26 November.
The deals include a £1000 deposit contribution on the 2018 version of the GSX-R1000R, as well as the choice of either a year’s free servicing, worth £470, or a free sports accessory pack worth over £1000. Sure, you’ll miss out on the adjustable swingarm pivot points and braided steel brake hoses of the 2019 version, but that’s a sacrifice that might be worth making.
The service offer includes the first two scheduled services, while the sports accessory pack is made up of a double-bubble screen, pillion cowl, engine case protectors and brake and clutch lever guards.
Further down the range, the GSX-R125 and GSX-S125 are being offered with a £500 deposit contribution and again there’s the choice of a year’s free servicing worth £450 or a voucher for £250 to be spent on accessories, merchandise or riding kit in Suzuki dealers.
While these offers expire at the end of next week, the deposit contribution sections of them will be extended to all GSX-R1000R and GSX-R/GSX-S125 buyers until the end of the year.
Visitors to Suzuki’s Motorcycle Live stand will also be able to pick up special scratch cards, each guaranteeing at least 10% off any order from Suzuki’s online shop. Some cards will have additional prizes, too.
4: Massive motorcycle museum collection up for grabs
The enormous Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas in January is set to be bolstered even further with an incredible bike collection from Stockholm.
Christer R Christensson has been collecting bikes for more than half a century, and since 1999 has kept his hoard in a showroom near Stockholm, with around 140 on display to the public. However, that’s just a fraction of the total collection, which runs to more than 400 bikes.
Now he’s selling 238 of his machines, all crossing the auction block during the five-day-long sale in January.
The astounding collection spans entire history of motorcycling, from an 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller replica to a 1992 Honda NR750. It’s a remarkably wide-ranging selection of machines, too, from scooters to works race bikes, most of them either factory-fresh or restored to perfection. You can check them out at Mecum’s website here.
5: Meet the stars at Motorcycle Live
It’s easy to focus on the new bikes and the bargain buys at the Motorcycle Live show, but it’s also your best chance of the year to get up close with some of the biggest stars on two wheels.
The celebrity action kicks off on Sunday 17 November, when 2018 World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, 2018 World Speedway Champion Tai Woffinden, 2018 World Sidecar Champions Tom and Ben Birchall and 2018 World Supersport 300 Champion Ana Carrasco, will be on the Black Horse Stage with James Whitham at 12.30pm.
The same day, BSB champ Leon Haslam and Carl Fogarty will be doing Q&As, while Foggy will also appear with fellow four-time WSB champ Rea in another chat with Whitham at 2pm.
During the week other riders and personalities, including Steve Plater, Keith Huewan and John Reynolds, will be appearing, and Foggy is back again every day from Thursday 22 November to the end of the show on Sunday 25 November.
Saturday 24 November is ‘BSB Day’, with appearances from a host of Bennetts British Superbike stars, including Haslam and rivals Bradley Ray, Peter Hickman and Glen Irwin.
Finally, Sunday 25 November is ‘TT Day’, with riders including John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, James Hillier and Ian Hutchinson on stage.
The full list of riders and celebrities appearing on each day at the show can be found here.