Already a popular format in Europe—and one that dates back to the dawn of motorcycling—the unadorned naked bike is now gathering popularity in the United States too, with a variety of new takes on the venerable approach.
Aprilia (www.apriliausa.com) is expanding its limited model range with the SL750 Shiver, a technological tour de force with Ride-by-Wire electronic throttle control (say goodbye to cables) and a hybrid bolt-together frame that matches a steel trellis to cast aluminum side members. The radially mounted front brake calipers contain four different diameter pairs of opposed pistons—a technology derived from the racetrack—and they bite on twin 320mm floating discs for state-of-the-art stopping power. A respectable 95 hp V-twin mated to a hydraulic clutch and 6-speed transmission powers the Shiver and 43mm inverted forks help take care of the suspension duties.
Triumph Street Triple 675. (Click image to enlarge)
No one can doubt the star power of Triumph’s tough-guy Speed Triple 1050 (see our June/July 2007 issue) and track-wise Daytona 675. In a typically smart move, Triumph (www.triumph.co.uk/usa) combined the two winners into what will probably be another success story—the Street Triple 675. With a three-cylinder motor producing 107 hp, the Street Triple boasts Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier tires, Kayaba suspension, the Daytona’s aluminum frame and swingarm, and spectacular streetfighter styling. To enhance the bike’s versatility, Triumph repositioned the handlebars, seat, and footpegs to increase comfort for both the rider and passenger.
BMW HP2 Megamoto and Kawasaki Versys. (Click images to enlarge)
When we first laid eyes on the BMW HP2 Enduro, our minds quickly transformed it into a supermoto bike. A 1200cc enduro bike is the answer to a question not many Americans ask; but, as KTM and Ducati can tell you, a liter-class supermoto is a fine way to strafe canyons. Many HP2 Enduro riders performed their own transformations, and now BMW (www.bmwmotorcycles.com) is doing it for you with the HP2 Megamoto. Inverted Marzocchi forks, an Öhlins shock and Akrapovic exhaust demonstrate BMW’s serious attitude about the class.
Naked, save for a modest bikini top, the Kawasaki Versys (www.kawasaki.com) is something of a Rorschach test—different riders will look at it and come up with diverse uses for the Ninja 650R-based machine. The torquey parallel twin’s power delivery and the upright seating position will endear it to both backroad exploring and urban offensives. Riders who think they always need a narrow-focus machine may see the value in Kawasaki’s multitalented new bike.