It’s always exciting to see the new crop of new models being launched but while 2021’s Euro 5 emissions rules mean there’s a bumper turnout of updates this year they also sign the death warrant for some old favourites that will soon disappear from showrooms for good.
It’s hard to argue with the logic behind tighter emissions rules, and Euro 5 has once again proved that the world’s motorcycle designers are a clever bunch when it comes to making bikes more efficient than ever before while still adding more performance, smoother power delivery and improved response. But for some bikes, meeting those new rules simply isn’t viable without vast investment that manufacturers couldn’t hope to recoup in sales.
These are some of the most significant models that we’re waving off in 2021.
Although Euro 5 is in force from 1st January 2021, ‘end of series’ rules mean that manufacturers have up to two years to clear unsold stocks, so bikes will still be allowed to be sold brand new while there are any left. But if you want a new example of any of the machines mentioned below, you’d better get a move on before they’re all gone.
Overall, Yamaha’s model range is one of the most modern on the market but even so there are still quite a few machines that aren’t getting tweaked to meet Euro 5 and as such are set to disappear from dealers in the months to come.
Given the endless dominance of the BMW R1250GS in bike markets all over Europe, the Super Ténéré makes a vast amount of sense for Yamaha on paper. An 1199cc, twin-cylinder, shaft-drive adventure bike, it revived the ‘Super Ténéré’ name that was steeped in history from the old XTZ750 model of 1989-96, and when it was launched in 2010 it was on a par with the BMW GS on the spec sheet.
You might have thought it would be a big seller. In reality, though, Yamaha learnt that BMW GS buyers weren’t looking for just any big adventure bike, even if it was good – they wanted BMWs, and while the Super Ténéré was close in spec, it really needed to have a dominant advantage to sway potential purchasers in big numbers.
A decade on, the Super Ténéré’s 110hp output and hefty 265kg kerb weight mean it’s lagging the latest GS in performance terms, and a lack of updates over the years mean its tech is well behind as well. It’s barely any cheaper than the BMW, making selling the Super Ténéré in 2020 an unenviable task.
Since Yamaha never got around to using the Super Ténéré’s bespoke parallel twin engine in any other model, there’s no incentive to update the design for Euro 5, and Super Ténéré sales on their own just don’t justify the expense.
The smaller Ténéré 700 shows that Yamaha is more than capable of making a winning adventure bike, so while the Super Ténéré name is disappearing from the market again, at least in Europe, don’t discount the possibility that it could one day return.
Once upon a time every manufacturer worth its salt had a big sports tourer in its range, combining massive power with all-day comfort and handling that didn’t leave you wallowing through every corner. There’s a reason this sort bike is popular with police.
Now, the fickle tastes of buyers mean such bikes are a rarity. Yamaha’s FJR1300A is one of the last of its type, and in 2021 it will be dropped from European markets including the UK.
2021 actually marks the 20th anniversary of the FJR1300’s launch, and while it’s had updates over the years the basics haven’t changed since then. A 144hp, 1289cc four, shaft drive and an alloy beam frame made it a strong rival to models like the Honda Pan European, Kawasaki GTR1400 and BMW K1200GT, but all those bikes are gone now and the Yamaha is following suit. The FJR1300AE Ultimate Edition marks the end of the model’s life and at £17,647 is actually £200 cheaper than the FJR1300AE it’s based on.
The FJR’s lasting legacy may turn out to be the ‘YCCS’ semi-automatic, pushbutton-operated transmission and automated clutch that was offered on the FJR1300AS from 2006 – a technology that still seems pretty futuristic even now.
The Yamaha R6 has been one of the last men standing from the once-dominant 600cc four-cylinder supersports market – but for 2021 it’s gone. Nearly.
In fact, you will still be able to buy an R6 in the UK in 2021, but only as the ‘R6 Race’ – a non-homologated machine purely intended for track days. It’s effectively identical to the 2020 version, but shorn of its mirrors, indicators and licence plate. It might be possible to road-register one under Single Vehicle Approval rules, but it would surely be easier – not to mention cheaper – to simply get a used R6 or one of the remaining 2020 road-going versions if you’re desperate to get your hands on a bike that marks the end of an era.
The XV950R cruiser and scrambler-style SCR950 both share the same bones so it’s no surprise that both are disappearing together – however, they’re relative spring chickens in the Yamaha range, dating back to 2013 and 2017 respectively.
The non-Euro 5 engine they both use is older, though, dating back to the 2009 XVS950, and the dwindling popularity of cruiser-style machines in Europe means Yamaha has effectively left the cruiser market altogether in this part of the world. The XV950R will live on in the US market, though, so production isn’t coming to a halt even if we don’t get it here anymore.
Other Yamahas that disappear for 2021 include the XMAX 400, Aerox 50 and Neos 50 scooters, while non-Euro 5 machines that are expected to be updated in future to remain on sale include the XSR900, NIKEN and MT-10.
Harley-Davidson is going through a period of reorganisation at the moment and the firm is already committed to rationalising its model range and decreasing the number of machines it makes, and we understand the firm has decided to drop the entire Sportster line in Europe rather than going to the expense of updating it to Euro 5 specs.
As with all non-Euro 5 bikes, there’s still scope for the models to be sold under ‘derogation’ or end-of-series rules, which allow manufacturers to sell relatively small numbers of non-compliant bikes for up to two years after the introduction of Euro 5, so the Sportster line won’t necessarily disappear immediately, but it appears to be on its way out.
Will there be a replacement? We know that during 2021 Harley plans to launch its new 1250cc, water-cooled custom bike – which uses the same Revolution Max engine that has been shown in the Pan America adventure bike and the Bronx streetfighter (originally due in 2020 but since dropped from Harley’s plans). Although much more powerful than any Sportster, with around 145hp, the new 1250 custom could partially replace the smaller models in Harley’s range. The firm has also been working on designs for a new air-cooled V-twin with variable valve timing that could one day appear as a replacement for the Sportster engine, but for the moment at least it looks like the Sportster as we know it is leaving Europe.
The Monster has been around for more than quarter of a century but while there’s a brand new, alloy-framed, 937cc version for 2021, we lose models at either end of the range.
Although the new model – simply called Monster – is intended to replace all three existing bikes, the 797, 821 and 1200, it’s clearly closest to the 821. The much more powerful, 147hp Monster 1200 is still listed on the firm’s website but won’t be built in a 2021, Euro 5-compliant form.
It’s perhaps no surprise, as the firm’s Streetfighter V4 has overshadowed the Monster 1200 in the powerful naked bike stakes since its introduction.
At the other end of the scale, the Monster 797 was perhaps the last link to the original, air-cooled Monster that first appeared in 1993. While Ducati’s Scrambler range uses the same 803cc, air-cooled, 2-valve V-twin, proving that Ducati could have achieved Euro 5 compliance with the Monster 797, the firm has opted not to do so, drawing a line under the era of air-cooled Monsters.
Another Ducati not appearing in the 2021 line-up is the homologation-special Panigale V4 R, but that’s surely just a temporary absence before an even more track-focussed, high-tech version of the bike appears for 2022.
Honda has confirmed that its current VFR models – the VFR800F, VFR800X Crossrunner and VFR1200X Crosstourer – won’t be updated to Euro 5 spec, meaning that once the current stocks are gone we’ll no longer have any V4-powered production Hondas on sale in the UK.
With an engine and chassis design that can be traced back to 2001, the VFR800F hasn’t been tweaked since 2014. Once the ultimate all-rounder, happy on track days and tours alike, the VFR800F has become something of a forgotten model despite its glorious V4 heritage. The VFR800X Crossrunner, based on the same mechanical parts, doesn’t set the sales charts alight either, so it’s understandable that Honda isn’t rushing a replacement into showrooms.
The VFR1200X Crosstourer is a much more recent machine, only launched in 2011 and based on the same V4 engine used in the 2009-on VFR1200F. But the VFR1200F died when Euro 4 emissions rules were brought in in 2017, and while the adventure-style Crosstourer did make the Euro 4 leap, it’s not getting updated to Euro 5.
With all three V4 models dropped, Honda is left without a V4-powered model in its European range for the first time since the VF models first appeared in the early 80s.
Honda is keen to point out that the current bikes, despite not meeting Euro 5 rules, will still be sold brand new, complete with warranty, under derogation rules, so they could still be available for a while.
While it was an impressive achievement from Honda to create an air-cooled inline four-cylinder engine capable of hitting Euro 4 emissions limits, the CB1100EX and CB1100RS won’t be getting updated into Euro 5 form.
Originally seen as a concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the CB1100 hit showrooms in 2010, at the vanguard of the trend for retro-styled modern machines. Its air-cooled four makes it among the most authentic big retros, but also hampers the bike’s performance with just 89hp on tap from 1140cc.
Recent patents have suggested the firm still has an eye on an air-cooled, retro-styled four-cylinder, so don’t write off the chances of a replacement appearing at some stage. Given the prominence of the original 1969 CB750 in the history of both Honda and motorcycling as a whole, the company is sure to keep an eye on how to replicate it if there’s enough demand to justify the development cost.
Yes, you read that right. Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 is disappearing from the UK range in 2021. Never fear, though, as the higher-spec GSX-R1000R is staying.
While Suzuki hasn’t officially revealed most of its 2021 machines yet – the firm is waiting for the new year to do that – it’s confirmed that the base model of the GSX-R1000 range is going, not because of problems meeting emissions limits but simply due to rationalisation. The fact is that the vast majority of GSX-R1000 customers opt to spend a little extra and get the GSX-R1000R version instead of the unadorned, lower-spec model.
Elsewhere in Suzuki’s line up, the V-Strom 250 is gone after a short life. It only appeared in 2017, but struggled to attract buyers – DfT records show that just 364 were registered in the UK over the three years it was offered. The similarly-powered GSX250R, also launched in 2017, suffers the same fate having found even fewer customers, and the Burgman 200 and 125 scooters are also set to disappear.
Like Honda, Kawasaki has yet to officially confirm which bikes will disappear from its range following the introduction of Euro 5 – but with its last surviving rival, Yamaha’s R6, opting out of the game, the Kawasaki ZX-6R’s future surely hangs in the balance.
In the first three quarters of 2020, Kawasaki sold only 185 ZX-6Rs in the UK. It’s not even a very old bike, having been updated for the 2019 model year (during which 295 found UK buyers), so the economic case for spending money on a Euro 5 revamp is going to be hard to make.
At the moment, Kawasaki’s official line is that some models – the ZX-6R, Ninja 400, Z400, Ninja H2, Ninja H2 SX, J125 and J300 – haven’t yet been made Euro 5 compliant, and that “engineers in Akashi are working to bring key models back into production in the shortest timeframe possible.”
That begs the question: which are ‘key’ models? The Ninja H2 and H2 SX should be relatively easy Euro 5 conversions, and the same applies to the Ninja 400 and Z400. The J-series scooters are made for Kawasaki by Kymco, so their future will depend on the continuation of that deal, and with tiny sales in the UK (fewer than 1000 of the J125s and under 1600 J300s since the range was launched in 2014) they’re unlikely to be sorely missed if the experiment is drawn to a close.
As we get into 2021 we’re sure to see more models disappear from sale, but others that have already gone from manufacturers’ ranges in the UK include BMW’s R NineT Racer – the bullet-faired version of the firm’s neo-retro offering – and both versions of the same firm’s C650 scooter.
We’ve yet to see Triumph’s complete 2021 line-up, but we’re expecting the Speed Triple 1050 to be replaced with an all-new 1160cc version in the near future, and the same engine will also go into a replacement for the Tiger 1200. The Tiger Sport 1050 is also expected to go since it uses the old 1050 triple engine, and at the moment it’s not clear that there will be a direct replacement for it, although a smaller 660cc Tiger Sport based on the new Trident has been hinted at and the new 1160cc triple from the Street Triple replacement and next-gen Tiger 1200 might also lend itself to a road-oriented Tiger Sport 1160 to challenge the BMW S1000XR.