A Dozen Must-Ride Motorcycles For 2018
As the calendar ticks over to 2018, I’m looking at the new motorcycles I want to ride in the coming year. I’ve already had a good number of rides on outstanding 2018s, and here’s a list of the motorcycles announced by 1/1/2018 that I am eagerly anticipating riding in 2018.
Keep in mind that I leave the superbikes to Arthur, Ron, and Nic, and the motocross motorcycles to Chris, Ty, and Brandon, so that’s not why the latest, greatest, and fastest aren’t on my list.
Most of the motorcycles on the list are 2018s, though there are three ’19s that are on the horizon. Although I’ve numbered them, it’s a fairly arbitrary sequence—I want to ride them all!
1. 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S. I loved the Ducati-modified Multistrada 950 I rode last year, so my appetite has been whetted for the new Multistrada 1260 S. Rather than use it as an ADV motorcycle, I want this one with bags for high-energy sport touring. The flagship 1200 that the 1260 replaces was great as a street-only tourer, and I expect the 1260 S to be even better.
2. 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701. It is great to see Husqvarna back in the pure street motorcycle business after decades away. We’ve had a look at this stunning motorcycle, though nothing beats a ride on it. We love the 701 motor in the enduro and supermoto chassis, so this should be an entertaining motorcycle, especially when dive-bombing through urban Los Angeles.
3. 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. Ultimate Motorcycling President Arthur Coldwells went to Japan to put in a few laps—yes, laps—at Motegi on the all-new 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. Plus, he’ll get a chance to ride it through Texas later this month. That’s nice, but I want to get in the saddle and put some serious miles on the granddaddy of tourers.
4. 2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. It’s not for lack of trying, but I haven’t ridden a Royal Enfield in a while. Changes in importers caused complicated proceedings, though it seems that has settled down. The all-new twin-cylinder Royal Enfield engine is exciting news (written when we were expecting an ’18 edition). While I like the singles, they do have serious performance limitations. The twin should be freeway-ready, and my favorite is the standard Interceptor with upright ergonomics and a truly classic look.
5. 2019 KTM 790 Duke. Sure, it’s a 2019 model and I’ll have to be a bit patient, yet I get antsy just thinking about the KTM 790 Duke. I greatly enjoy the 690 Duke, and am dreaming about what KTM can do with a parallel twin in a lightweight sporting chassis with plenty of electronic aids. Check out our first look at the 2019 KTM 790 Duke (again, when we were expecting it to be an ’18).
6. 2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic. I’ve ridden most of the new 2018 Harley-Davidson Softails, but this one hasn’t landed in my garage yet. I am a huge fan of the new Softails, and have always wanted to love the Heritage Classic. Perhaps 2018 will be the year when the iconic Heritage Classic lives up to my expectations.
7. 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900. New supermoto motorcycles are few and far between, so I’m always ready to hop on a new edition. Who doesn’t like popping wheelies and backing it in, or having a nice high perch when working your way through traffic? Associate Editor Nic de Sena has tested the Aprilia Dorsoduro 900, but I want my turn!
8. 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA. As a fan of the Explorer 1200, I look forward to getting out on the new Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA (the top of the six-bike Tiger 1200 line). It has just about every feature you can imagine, including six ride modes and a titanium/carbon-fiber Arrow muffler. It’s lighter than before, and should be an amazing ADV touring machine.
9. 2018 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR. I love triples and mid-size sport bikes, so the MV Agusta 800 RR is a natural for me. The styling is pure moto-porn, and stirs the blood just looking at photos. Delving into the list of upgrades, including a 140 horsepower motor, makes this a must-ride sport bike in 2018. Like Royal Enfield, MV Agusta seems to be gathering steam with a reliable importer.
10. 2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX. This motorcycle looks to be completely over-the-top, in true supercharged H2 fashion. I wasn’t particularly interested in riding the H2 or H2R, as they far exceed my capabilities. I suspect the same is true of the H2 SX, but I can’t wait to see what Kawasaki thinks sport-touring aficionados need in a high-horsepower motorcycle. Our first look was certainly enough to pique my interest.
11. 2018 BMW G 310 GS. Small-displacement adventure motorcycles are getting more and more attention, with good reason. They have easily manageable weight, power, and height, making them a great way to get going in the ADV world. BMW invented the ADV genre, so I definitely want to ride BWM’s take on the 300 class. This one was supposed to be a ’17, but got delayed until 2018. Here’s a rundown of the G 310 GS.
12. 2019 Yamaha Niken. I’m set for rides on the Yamaha Star Venture and Star Eluder in the next couple of months, so I will leave them off this list. Instead, I’ll go with this totally wild three-wheel Niken. While the three-wheel design has obvious appeal to new riders, the MT-09 based motor will provide plenty of excitement as I find out just how hard I can push that front end in corners. I have absolutely no idea what to expect.