Well all know it’s coming, we already know what it looks like but that isn’t stopping Triumph from going ahead with a new campaign to tease everyone with for the upcoming 2016 Triumph Bonneville. The British manufacturer has posted a new video on YouTube titled, “Something big is coming….”
Not only has there been numerous spy shots of the bike captured over the last few months, but high quality images of the bike have also been seen from promotional material for the movie Outlaws, featuring David Beckham (sure to be the favourite at Cannes Film Festival next year). The bike is shown in all its water cooled glory, much to the chagrin of purists.
The video shows the silhouette of what appears to be a number of variants of the Bonneville of which we’re expecting a bobber and cafe racer to be among them. All will be revealed on 28 October.
Sophisticated, refined, fast – these are not adjectives to describe Royal Enfield’s Continental GT Cafe Racer. But despite this, the Continental GT is one of the most enjoyable motorcycles we’ve recently ridden and if the main reason you ride is to bring a smile to your face, then this motorcycle deserves you to take a good look at it.
No other motorcycle company in the world has as long a history building motorcycles as Royal Enfield – even Harley-Davidson and Triumph came to the motorcycle manufacturing party after Enfield. The Continental GT itself is steeped in history with the first bike bearing its name released in 1965. And despite the current iteration Continental GT featuring modern features such as fuel injection and Brembo brakes, this bike pays homage to its past in more ways than one.
The present day Continental GT was first released in India in 2013 and is an evolution of the original design of so many decades ago. It looks authentically retro, much more like a Triumph Bonneville than a Ducati Scrambler in taking design cues from yesteryear. The red or yellow tank looks brilliant and there’s just enough chrome without being overwhelming.
The gold plated shock absorber reservoir and silver painted clip-ons detract from that slightly, but that’s made up with the simple and elegant gauges and traditional rounded headlight.
The trip down memory lane continues with its performance. The Royal Enfield Continental GT is powered by a 535cc air-cooled single cylinder engine. Yet, despite a decent amount of capacity it manages to only produce 29 horsepower and 44 Nm of torque while pulling 184 kilograms (plus rider) along.
Then there’s the vibrations. Those with fillings may need to take a detour to the dentist after a ride from the shaking this bike produces. Anything above 3,500 rpm (redline is 5,500) and depending on the speed, you may find yourself adapting your riding style just to calm the bike down.
Normally, such slow performance and lack of refinement would be enough to write this bike off without hesitation. And yet in an ironic way, its idiosyncrasies become a positive. With more and more motorcycles becoming so increasingly complex and refined (dare we say characterless?), the Continental GT is a breath of fresh air. It’s the complete opposite of what most expect from a modern day bike and it’s all the better for it.
The engine note is glorious. A single cylinder engine has no right to sound this good. Even with such a small amount of horsepower on tap, I blipped the throttle on every downshift just to hear the exhaust note and the potential backfire. The 18 inch front and rear wheels are shod with Pirelli Sport Demon tires which provide predictable levels of grip.
On the flipside, the rear brakes lock without much effort, the seat is firm and the rear shock, while compliant doesn’t have enough travel. It’s also going to be a tight squeeze if you want to carry a passenger with you, too.
And I love it all the more for that. The Continental GT has a certain X factor that’s hard to explain. If this was designed and sold as a sportsbike you wouldn’t give it a second look but it’s not – it’s a cafe racer through and through. It’s the type of motorcycle that really fits the cliche of inviting you to take the long way home just because you can. And while it’s not made for all day riding, it fulfills the role of commuter and weekend pleasure cruiser with aplomb.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT retails for $9,995 in Australia,£5,199 in the UK and $5,999 in the United States.
The R NineT was one of BMW Motorrad’s biggest success stories last year, becoming the German brands fourth most popular selling bike in 2014. Part of that success is thanks to Roland Sands Design, the California based motorcycle, product and apparel company who played a huge part in the design of the bike.
Now, in an interview with BMW Motorrad CEO Stephan Schaller, CycleNews has reported that Roland Sands and BMW will work together even more closely going forward. “He creates these wonderful motorcycles in terms of styling and flair, but they actually work, they are functional” said Schaller. “They are not like so many other custom bikes that are just nice to look at, but you wouldn’t want to ride one.”
He further goes on to say that Roland Sands is also “a great guy, not only in terms of his
personality, but also from his intellect and his ability to understand motorcycles. And of course with BMW there’s a huge base of potential customers for him to make money from. We have hundreds of thousands of bikes out there being ridden that he can find the right
way to offer aftermarket parts to.”
And what will this future collaboration produce? More than likely it will be either an R nineT based Scrambler or Cafe Racer – both of which were confirmed in the interview as coming out within the next year or two.
In addition to being a part of the design process of the R nineT, Roland Sands also sells a range of bespoke customization pieces for the bike which are available here.
Cafe racers are the new adventure bikes for motorcycle manufacturers, and Triumph intends to be front and center late next year if rumors by British magazine Visordown ring true. Two brand new Triumph models were spotted testing in Spain – a standard model and what would likely be an R model.
According to the same report, the bike will feature a brand new 1100cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin producing 90 hp. If those figures actually eventuate, one would assume that Triumph is targeting the older and more experienced demographic with this machine rather than Gen Y or younger, given that the machine will probably weigh a hefty amount, too. Straight line performance will not be this machines forte.
Despite the bike probably not being the fastest machine ever designed, the spy photos do show Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes, so at least Triumph aren’t going full Harley-Davidson with this machine – not that we’d expect anything less from Triumph. The as yet named Cafe Racer and Cafe Racer R will likely be available late next year or early 2016.
EICMA 2014 has been finished for a few weeks now and despite all the hype behind the Yamaha R1, Ninja H2 and Honda RC213V-S, perhaps the most important bikes shown were the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen concepts. But why would two bikes that only have a 373 cc thumper and pump out a pedestrian 43 hp nearly become the talk of EICMA? Because non-motorcyclists fell in love with it.
The story on the Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen (White Arrow) and Svartpilen (Black Arrow) first broke on Bike EXIF and quickly spread to the front page of Reddit followed by the rest of social media. And the one thing that stood out was so many people making the comment that this is a machine that would get them into motorcycle riding. That’s huge and is the current holy grail for motorcycle manufacturers around the world when it comes to western markets.
As it stands, the biggest growth areas for bike manufacturers isn’t in the saturated western world but in the developing nations; India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and so on. But they’re volume plays. A bike like the Husqvarna 401’s is something that could lead to real growth in the western world. But what’s so special about these two bikes?
From a purely unscientific perspective, they look gorgeous. There was universal praise for their ‘retro-futuristic’ looks that takes the best of cafe racers and dials it up a few notches. Being a concept, a production version would no doubt lose some of the uniqueness and become a little more mainstream, but that’s then and this is now. People loved it.
The second reason it captured people’s attention is that it wasn’t intimidating. If you were trying to get some interested in motorcycles the the Kawasaki Ninja H2R, you’re probably not going to get very far. Sure, it’s technologically impressive, but people wary of bikes aren’t going to change their mind for a machine that would probably kill them within five minutes or riding.
The Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen on the other hand use the same engine as found in the KTM RC390 – a bike designed for learners. The concept bikes only weigh 297 lb though which means while it won’t be superbike quick, it’ll still beat 95 per cent of cars off the traffic lights in the real world.
And this is what so many people, even die hard motorcyclists have been crying out for. A super sexy machine that’s actually practical for everyday use. Owning a BMW S1000 R may seem like the best thing in the world, but if you’re riding in heavy traffic every Monday through Friday, it’s not really ever going to get used for what it is ultimately best at. The Husqvarna 401 concepts exude street cred and purpose. And anything that can get more riders on the saddle is a good thing in our opinion.
As licensing requirements in Europe and Australia continue to become more onerous for new riders, machines like this will become more mainstream than they are now. And if that means more lightweight, practical and attractive motorcycles then bring it on.
The new 2015 Yamaha XJR1300 Racer was a pleasant surprise at this years Intermot, though unfortunately was overshadowed by the likes of the Ducati Scramber and Kawasaki Ninja H2R. Based on the standard Yamaha XJR1300 (which also receives a facelift this year), it takes styling cues from a collaboration with Australian custom builders Dues Ex Machina from 2013.
If you haven’t heard of the XJR1300 before, it probably means you’re not from Europe or Australia where it’s currently sold which is a real shame as it’s a very unique machine. It features the largest displacement air-cooled (that’s right, not water-cooled) inline four still in production, which pumps out a solid 98 bhp at 8000 rpm and 108 nm of torque at 6000 rpm. So while Yamaha describes is as being of ‘cafe-racer’ style, it at least has a bit of zing behind it to go with its looks.
In addition to the standard features of the XJR1300, the Racer version also comes with a carbon cowl, clip-ons, carbon front fender, carbon passenger seat cover and 4-2-1 matte black exhaust and new design end cap. Yamaha haven’t disclosed the weight of the bike yet but the standard XJR1300 weighs 530 lb wet. It’s certainly a great looking bike and will be available from Yamaha Europe within months.