We’re heading for a bumper year for significant new motorcycle launches in 2023 and the ultra-competitive Naked and Roadster segment is certainly no exception.
Significant new arrivals include the Triumph Street Triple 765, the Honda CB750 Hornet and the much anticipated replacement for the Suzuki SV650, the GSX-8S.
Then there is the hypernaked BMW M 1000 R and revised Ducati Streetfighter V4, plus the humble but trendy Honda CL500… in short, there is something for everyone on the way in 2023.
So come check out which tempting new and upcoming Naked & Roadster Motorcycles are being launched in 2023…
The all-new 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S has finally arrived to pick up the reins from the ageing (or, perhaps that should be ‘aged’) SV650 as the Hamamatsu marque’s contender in the super competitive mid-size naked segment.
Several years in the making, Suzuki is banking on the GSX-8S being worth the wait and, on paper at least, it certainly colours us intrigued.
While many will mourn Suzuki’s not unexpected decision to drop the much-loved V-Twin architecture in favour of a fresh 776cc parallel twin unit, the GSX-8S appears competitive with its 83bhp and 78Nm of torque.
We have already sampled the engine in the new V-Strom 800 DE, which we found to be easy going, refined and very usable, while the electronics package is second to none.
Interestingly though, with prices starting at £7999, it tests Suzuki’s value-oriented status by being considerably pricier than the new Honda CB 750 Hornet, while it is more expensive than the Yamaha MT-07 and the Triumph Trident 660 too.
Like Suzuki, Honda is wading back into the middleweight naked category with interest by reviving an iconic nameplate for its new Honda CB750 Hornet.
Despite over-selling the Hornet as a fresh design direction for the marque prior to launch, Honda has typically stuck to what it knows best by curating a handsome, well-built machine that is certainly more attractive in the flesh than in photos, albeit one that won’t stir the soul.
Instead, the interesting bits can be found under the skin, with the Hornet getting first dibs on Honda’s new 755cc parallel-twin platform that has already spawned a Transalp ADV variant and will likely also form the basis for a CBR750RR sportsbike and possibly even a Hawk 7 version.
It is certainly the Hornet’s trump card, producing a class-leading 91bhp, while it also has a superior power-to-weight ratio relative to its rivals, making it feel nimble in urban areas, yet mature on the open road.
With its £6,999 price tag undercutting its main rivals too, the CB750 Hornet may be a bit bland, but there is still plenty to get excited about.
While the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS (below) may have hogged the headlines at launch, the entry-level Triumph Street Triple 765 R is arguably all the Trumpet STR you’ll ever need… plus you’ll be pocketing almost £2k in savings.
Pitched by Triumph as assuming the spot vacated by the previous generation RS, like its sibling, the R also enjoys a welcome power boost to 118bhp, which still gives it the edge on most rivals’ sportiest variants, while it doesn’t give away as much to the RS on the road as you might expect despite fewer of the trick racing-inspired components of his sibling.
So while your heart may yearn for an RS, your head will likely lean towards the R. Point is though, whichever you shell out for, you won’t be disappointed.
You might not spot the changes on the surface, but the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS offers a step forward in every area to consolidate its status as the sporty naked of choice in the mid-range.
Minor but effective tweaks to the styling have given the new Street Triple 765 RS more attitude, while there is a premium feel to the switchgear, TFT display and attention to detail.
On the road, the Street Triple 765 RS has benefited from Triumph’s invaluable role supplying engines to the Moto2 World Championship, giving it the confidence to eke power output to a class-leading 128bhp, while improving responsiveness to make it a treat on track days.
Still a hoot to ride, the Street Triple RS 765 is fast, fun and frisky, making the most of its Brembo Stylema brakes, Showa front suspension and Ohlins STX40 rear shocks upgrades.
Better still, if the RS isn’t special enough, how about the Triumph Street Triple 765 Moto2 Edition, which gets bespoke detailing and branding, unique suspension tuning and is exclusively offered in white or retina-sizzling yellow.
If you thought the latest generation Ducati Monster had lost some of its ‘grrrrr’ then the new Ducati Monster SP is here to prove Ducati’s compact roadster hasn’t gone soft yet.
Demanding a steep £2k premium over the standard Monster, the SP attempts to justify its mark up with Öhlins fully adjustable suspension front and rear, Brembo Stylema callipers, a steering damper, Termignoni can and a paint job inspired by Ducati’s title-winning MotoGP bikes.
On the road, the Monster SP does feel lighter and handles sharper than ever, while stopping power has improved too.
However, it’s a shame Ducati hasn’t gone to the effort of endowing the SP with a touch more power from its 937cc Testastretta engine, not least because the standard Monster is already down on ponies compared with its Triumph, Yamaha and KTM rivals.
Joining the M 1000 RR in being honoured with the hallowed ‘M’ prefix, while the flagship sportsbike is a technological tour de force, it is also a wince-inducing £30,940, so the more palatable - albeit still ambitious - £19,480 for the M 1000 R seems reasonable by comparison.
For that you get the same 999cc 207bhp engine from the S 1000 RR and it comes with semi-active Marzocchi forks and rear shock and Nissin four-piston radial monobloc caliper, while the firm says it can generate 11kg of downforce at 136mph from its upgraded aero.
In fact, while the M 1000 R sits alongside the M 1000 RR in the range, think of it more as what the S 1000 R should have been all along…
Ducati has given its Streetfighter V4 and Streetfighter V4 S pair a sprinkling of updates in line with its sportsbike counterpart, the Panigale.
Though the Ducati Streetfighter V4 has developed something of a ‘wild child’ reputation since it was launched in 2020, Ducati has still gone ahead and eked power out to 208bhp - up 3bhp - but this time it is also investing heavily revised electronics package that helps calms things down a bit on the road.
Updates include a new Wet Riding Mode, revised display graphics - including a Track Evo display that imitates Ducati’s title-winning GP22 MotoGP machine - Ducati Quick Shift and Engine Brake Control Evo 2 software, which ups the engine brake as a function of the load on the rear-end.
The changes don’t come cheap though with the base Ducati Streetfighter V4 alone setting you back £21,095, while the V4 S will set you back £22,895.
For those who find the Streetfighter V4 too tame in its standard form (somehow…), Ducati has upped the ante with the track-focused Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP2, its most ADHD ‘hypernaked’ yet.
Standing out in its stealthy ‘Winter Test Black’ matte paint job - complete with popping red accents and exposed aluminium tank - the Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP2 benefits from ‘exclusive technical equipment’, including split-spoke carbon rims that are 1.4kg lighter than those on the standard model, Brembo Stylema R front brake calipers designed for track-day use and an STM-EVO SBK dry clutch with optimised slipper function.
While the SP is no more powerful than the standard model in showroom-ready guise, it is 5kg lighter. Plus, if you raid the accessories list and select the Akrapovic full racing exhaust, power jumps from 208hp to an eye-watering 220hp.
On the downside though, at £30,595, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP2 is eye-wateringly expensive too.
It’s been a long process but finally public (and media) opinion of Chinese-branded motorcycles is beginning to soften, helped by a noticeable step up in quality and desirability to complement those competitive prices.
CFMoto can take a big chunk of the credit for this with a greater focus on growing its European market share seeing it flood the market with accomplished offerings recently, including the 800MT, 450SR and 700CL-X triplets.
However, the CFMoto 800NK could be its most important - and impressive - launch yet. Replacing the dated 650NK, the new naked is based on the underpinnings of the KTM 790 Duke, a platform so fondly regarded that the Austrian manufacturer recently brought the aforementioned model back from the dead to remain on sale.
With the 799cc engine boasting 99bhp, the 800NK is more powerful than the Suzuki GSX-8S and Honda CB750 Hornet rivals it will be priced competitively against, while - in our eyes - its sharp lines make it the most attractive option of the trio too.
Having broken the mould of its bread and butter cruisers, baggers and tourers with the launch of the first generation Indian FT1200, the American manufacturer has now given its flat track-inspired roadster an update for 2023.
While more contemporary styling tweaks do little to make the handsomely understated FTR1200 stand out more, there is now a new ‘Sport’ variant - replacing the S - that shimmies with a sharpened chassis set-up, upgraded Brembo brakes and improved clutch.
Power remains unchanged at 123bhp, while prices now start at £12,995.
Honda’s venerable and popular mid-range 500 platform gets another spin off with the launch of the Honda CL500 street scrambler.
Joining the CB500F, CBR500R, CB500X and CMX500 Rebel in the new line-up, the CL 500 is most directly related to the latter of these, sharing elements of its neo-retro styling including its single circular headlamp, matte-black engine casing and circular dash display.
As with all models using the 471cc engine, the 46bhp CL500 is A2 compliant, while the promise of quality engineering and the attractive chunky styling - plus a competitive £5999 price tag - should win favour among young buyers seeking a cheaper alternative to a Triumph Scrambler.
From the sublime to the utterly ridiculous, the ultra-exclusive expensive Brabus 1300 R has been updated for 2023 to consolidate its status as one of motorcycling’s most gratuitous purchases.
First revealed in 2021, the Brabus 1300 R is the result of a tie-up between the German tuning firm - best associated for its work with Mercedes-Benz - and KTM, which has led to a limited run of models based on the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.
While power remains unchanged over its Austrian cousin at 180bhp, the 1300 R features a lighter carbon-fibre undertray, bespoke heated seats, Brabus dual-pipe and Monoblack Z forged wheels.
Brabus has also had a good go at the exterior design, blunting the ‘scalpel’ theme of its donor with a more poised cafe racer style front-end design, enhanced by a bluff nose with a circular central headlight, updates that - in our eyes - are a marked improvement over the KTM, even if it does remind us of a more muscular Husqvarna 701 Vitpilen.
Exclusivity is the watchword here with just 290 examples being made… at £36,999.
While we wait patiently for BMW to launch the all-new R 1300 GS and GS Adventure, the two other oft-forgotten models currently available on the R 1250 platform - the R and RT - have been given a thorough update for 2023.
While it lacks the versatility of its best-selling brothers, the BMW R 1250 R remains an accomplished choice in isolation, benefiting from the same smooth 136bhp ShiftCam boxer engine, which offers up decent performance in the lighter naked.
The changes for 2023 are fairly minor, reduced to some tweaks to the styling, a new LED headlight, a new ECO riding mode and more generous kit levels, all at a price starting from £12,330.
The latest storied but struggling European marque to come under Chinese ownership in recent years, historic Italian firm Moto Morini - with a lot of help and investment from its new paymasters, Znen - have steadily begun to regain a foothold in the market.
Having got things underway with the launch of the X-Cape 650 adventure-tourer, Moto Morini is now setting its sights on the middleweight naked class with the Moto Morini Seiemmezzo - aka, the 6½, for those that don’t speak Italian.
A homage to the Moto Morini 3½ of the 1970s, the Seiemmezzo is available in two guises - the street sport STR and the scrambler SCR - both of which are handsome lookers, if slightly generic. Relying on the well-proven (albeit very dated) 649cc engine from the Kawasaki ER6, what the Seiemezzo lacks in refinement, it makes up for with its generous kit levels and £6999 price tag.
Proof that a Chinese conglomerate can do great things with a European brand, Benelli’s sales have multiplied in recent years thanks to a swathe of new models aimed primarily at the vast Asian market.
Benelli - or rather, QJ Motor - haven’t completely abandoned Europe though, with a selection of models trickling through, one of which could be the Benelli TNT 500.
While Benelli has reduced the TNT - which stands for Tornado Naked Twin - range in Europe to a 125 model, the popularity of the mid-market TRK 502 adventure tourer in its native market could inspire it to launch the refreshed naked, which will turn heads with its striking styling, while it is likely to be competitively priced too.
The smallest member to come from the ‘Dark Side of Japan’, otherwise known as Yamaha’s ‘Masters of Torque’ MT range, the Yamaha MT-125 styling has received a minor nip and tuck for 2023.
While tweaks to the exterior avoid the same ‘waspy’ nose treatment as the MT-07, Yamaha has sharpened up the look of the Yamaha MT-125 to ensure it remains one of the category’s more interesting options.
It also gets traction control for the first time, plus the same modern-looking 5-inch TFT display of its bigger brothers, albeit with trimmed back options available.
The 2023 Yamaha MT-07 receives a minor upgrade to help it stave off incoming competition from the Suzuki GSX-8S, Honda CB750 Hornet and CFMoto 800NK.
The biggest change is a new 5-inch TFT display with smartphone connectivity via Yamaha’s MyRide app, which allows you to get call, text and email notifications to your dashboard.
It also comes wired for quickshift to make it easier to retro-fit, a coloured front mudguard and revised switchgear.
Peugeot Motorcycles will embark on a significant expansion for 2023 with the launch of its first full-size model, the Peugeot PM-01.
The production version of the P2X concept unveiled in 2019, the finished model retains a chic charm with its unusual edgy nose cowl, minimalist profile, gold forks and blade-spoke rims on 17-inch wheels.
Peugeot’s push into the competitive low-capacity motorcycle ranks comes in the wake of its 100% takeover by new owners Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian firm keen to capitalise on the French marque’s European foothold by linking its other brand, BSA, to its distribution deal.
The Peugeot PM-01 will be available in either 300cc or 125cc guise.
After more than three years of development - including an apparent return to the drawing board - Harley-Davidson’s bold entry into the low-capacity segment looks just about ready for the world.
Conceived by H-D’s erstwhile management - the people who also made the LiveWire and Pan America possible - the ‘baby Harley’ was set for a 2020 launch before everything went very quiet in the wake of a boardroom restructure.
While many expected Harley-Davidson’s new bosses to quietly shelve the project - which was to be aimed primarily at the voluminous Asian market - new nakeds wearing Harley badges have since emerged.
Set to come in two guises, the models - dubbed X350 and X500 to denote their engine sizes - have been developed in conjunction with Benelli/QJ Motor and are thus based on their ‘302’ and ‘502’ platforms.
While the Harley-Davidson X350 and X500 are still being angled towards Asia, the company has let slip that they will likely make it to Europe and the United States, giving buyers - for the first time - an affordable way to own a Harley.
While Honda may sprinkle updates and upgrades across its venerable range throughout the year, generally it saves one or two major launches for the latter portion - last year it was the Hornet and Transalp, in 2022 it was the NT 1100 and in 2019 it was the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade.
So what’s in store for 2023? Well, the smart money appears to be on the latest generation of the firm’s largest naked, the Honda CB1000R, which has been soldiering on in the face of newer, more accomplished and more powerful rivals since 2018.
Rumours suggest Honda will lean more towards the method used by the likes of Yamaha, Ducati and Aprilia by pushing it closer towards being a ‘naked version of the CBR1000RR-R’ sportsbike.
Patent drawings have shown it will sprout wings and packaging tweaks that point to it getting a more potent engine. Which is just as well, because with the current model topping out at 143bhp, it is now substantially less powerful than its closest rivals.