Whilst this may mean adding a few more cat-converters, manufacturers are seemingly able to refine components already found in their bikes to squeeze out more BHP – yet still provide an economic ride. Plus in some cases, focus on other areas of the bike to improve the overall ride (like reducing weight and aerodynamics for an equivalent performance increase).
1. Ducati Streetfighter V4S
This one is absolutely stunning, and is well deserving of a place towards the top for me. A new release for 2020 from Ducati, the Streetfighter V4S was introduced with the same 1103cc engine as is found in the Panigale V4, with the Moto-GP derived Desmosedici Stradale V4. Available in both a standard (although I don’t think there’s anything ‘standard’ about this bike) and an S version, the almost sinister looks of the Streetfighter are a result of incorporating the mask of the joker as an inspiration. It’ll put out 208bhp, but will increase to 217bhp when fitted with the optional (6kg lighter) Akrapovic racing exhaust system.
This Streetfighter was clearly designed with beauty in mind, it’s also an engineering masterpiece – the engine itself is used as a structural chassis element, and the front frame is just 4kg and attached directly to the upper crankcase and rear bank – with the single-sided swingarm mounting at the crankcase. All exercises in keeping the bike stiff and compact, with a better improved stiffness/weight ratio for improved feeling on the road. 845mm seat, TFT screen, biplane wings, fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear shock (on this V4S model, standard has Showa front forks). Ducati’s latest tech package with all the rider modes and adjustments.
The Streetfighter is a seriously strong contender for bike-reveal of the year, and prices start from £17,595 for the standard, or the S for £19,795
2. Kawasaki Z H2
Not content with having the quickest (and most ridiculous) hyper-sports bike on the market in the H2, Kawasaki presented us with the Z H2, a naked bike ready for the 2020 market. Supercharged and ‘supernaked’, the 998cc inline 4 puts out a stonking 197bhp at 11000rpm with 137Nm of torque from that famous supercharger, it does weigh 239kg – but any less and it’d probably start flying off if you stick wings on it. At Motorcycle Live 2019 it was the main attraction for many, and was constantly crowded. Waiting for a chance to take a closer look was tricky!
It has all the features you’d ever want with a spec list longer than my arm, showing that Kawasaki are throwing in everything they can offer with their masterpiece. Highlights (away from the engine) are the adjustable Showa forks & rear shock, massive Brembo 320mm dual front discs with single 260mm rear, new TFT display, 19 Litre tank and a 830mm seat height. Climbing on to the bike leaves you feeling deceptively comfortable; and taking this on the road for the first time is probably quite the experience!
This Z H2 has come in and stole the show – although it does have some fierce competition in 2020 for best new naked motorcycle. It’ll cost around £15,745 for one of these on the road.
3. KTM 390 Adventure
The 390 Adventure has been an eagerly anticipated bike for KTM and adventure fans alike, who may have been itching for a touring & off-road style adventure bike for the lower CCs. Using the 390 Duke as a reference point, the 390 Adventure has added the typical adventure bike bits you’d expect – larger fuel tank (14.5 litres), taller suspension (170mm travel adjustable WP forks. 177mm shock), new 19 inch front wheel (17 rear), raised (& slimmer) seat height to 855mm and 172kg wet weight.
Same engine is present as in the Duke, 43bhp 373cc single cylinder with a few rider aides like traction control, up and down quickshifter. As usual, and as expected, KTM do not mess around when it comes to kitting out their bikes, and this 390 Adventure is no exception – so it’s perfect for an Adventure rider who is looking for an adventure bike with a smaller capacity.
The KTM stand was swarmed every time we were nearby, and this bike was almost star of the show (thanks to the 1290 Super Duke R getting most of the attention). The 390 Adventure is priced at £5,499.
4. Honda CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade
One that many were waiting for, and one that Marc Marquez himself loves (not surprised). The CBR1000RR-R (SP) doesn’t have a V4, but instead an all new inline four cylinder 999.9cc motor with ultra short-stroke and the same 81 x 48.5mm bore as the Panigale V4R, making 215bhp and weighing 201kg wet.
From a promo video, Marquez had a go on track with this new blade, and from the sounds of it was blown away (but that is again, to be expected by the factory Honda rider). Whilst the engine itself is obviously going to be unreal, Honda have also implemented other racing aspects to the Fireblade – such as the aerodynamics, which 8-time champ Marquez says are just as good as on his MotoGP bike!
Although these race characteristics should come as no surprise, parts on this Fireblade are heavily influenced from the RC213V-S – which is basically a Moto-GP bike with lights. Parts such as the 30.5mm longer swingarm, and with rev-limiting launch control are included, so if you’re taking this bike on track, it has all the modes and spec you’d need for some top times. Price yet to be confirmed, but estimated £19,990. If you’ve got the money for it, I’m fairly sure it will be high up on your “want” list – so have a look down the back of the sofa for a few extra pennies.
5. Honda Africa Twin (CRF1100L)
One that caught the eye of many adventure fans at Motorcycle Live, and for that reason happily finds a place on our list, is the newest Honda Africa Twin. This has been a hugely popular bike for years, especially recently, and the Africa Twin is considered by many as the first port-of-call when looking at a new bike. Praise indeed, as the adventure market is a very strong one with some cracking bikes.
Making use of a fully redesigned chassis with lighter main frame and bolt-on subframe, the Africa Twin is a bike made to be ridden sitting or standing and is just as comfortable off-road as it is on. Styling isn’t bad on this either, and Honda have included a new dual-LED headlights with daytime running lights that automatically adjust to ambient light intensity and a touch-screen TFT display.
The 1100cc parallel twin puts out more power than last year, with just over 100bhp and 105Nm of torque for the standard model & still staying in the Euro 5 boundaries. It’s matched with Showa 45mm USD forks and remote reservoir rear shock. No surprise, but it’s also packed with tech. Cornering ABS, an off-road setting with individual switchable rear brake ABS, it’s been made even more accessible – plus it has a slimmer seat for easier riding. The base model will be £13,049 – with uprated models going up from there.
6. Triumph Bobber TFC
With a limited run of just 750 units, the Bobber TFC (which stands for Triumph Factory Custom) is a top-of-the-line custom cruiser set to put you back £15,500 – but what a bike you get for your money.
Stemming from a Bonneville Bobber, the ultra-premium custom design is something Triumph are all about – they mention 80% of Street Twin riders personalise their bike, and with plenty of accessories available on their bikes, it’s only right their Bobber is re-designed as custom. There was a Bobber TFC at the show with ape-hangers as well, which was amusing to some people giving it a go.
As this is a numbered bike with no expectations of the run being extended past 750, Triumph have really gone all out to make this a truly premium high spec bike. Spec is no concern, it has 13% more peak power than the original Bobber, with 86bhp at 6075rpm and 110Nm of torque at 4000rpm.
It’s got gadgets and spec galore and I’m sure any custom bobber fans are already on their way to the nearest Triumph dealer with the £15,500 price-tag already sorted. Quite the looker, and definitely one I want to see more of.
7. Suzuki V-Strom 1050
Only two new offerings for 2020 from Suzuki, the V-Strom 1050 & 1050 XT. Along with the normal updated styling inspired by the DR-Big 750 & 800 (which was placed nicely behind the VStrom at the show), you see improved electronics and Euro 5 compliant V-twin engine, whilst also (somehow) increasing engine power from 99bhp to 106bhp.
We spent a good amount of time checking out the new V-Strom at the Motorcycle Live 2019 show, and it looks like Suzuki have done a good job with this one – Brett in particular liked the styling on this (and he doesn’t typically like this segment of the market)! There’s also a kit to turn your V-Strom into a Dakar-styled desert racer (for £4k) if you fancy it.
Added to the 2020 spec is the new LCD dash, ride-by-wire throttle with 3 rider modes, improved traction control – with the XT seeing a more few extras. If you’re concious on the size, the seat is 850-870mm. The V-Strom looks great and has been a staple in the adventure world for years, and it’s good to see a new release from Suzuki giving the people what they want. Standard edition is £10,000~ and XT £11,500~.
8. Yamaha Tracer 700
Alongside some other models from Yamaha seeing some makeovers recently for 2020, here’s the redesigned Tracer 700. Euro 5 compliant with the CP2 liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, which is also found in the MT07 and Tenere 700, the Tracer 700 will be a great option for touring riders.
With an aggressive makeover with sportier looks, this new Tracer (unrestricted) puts out 73bhp, sports a larger 17L fuel tank and more storage space. It almost looks like an R1 tourer, especially with the twin headlights, and you’ll have a good tour-friendly riding position in the 835mm seat. Quite the looker I think.
There have been a few changes to keep it current, one of which is an added accessory bridge on the handlebar which was stretched 34mm wider to accommodate your phone/sat nav, alongside adjustable front forks and a comfier seat! It also weighs in at exactly 196kg wet, the same as the previous model. The all-new Tracer 700 has a release date set as February 2020 with a price yet to be officially confirmed – but I’d expect around £7,500.
9. Triumph Thruxton RS
In at ninth, the Triumph Thruxton RS. Cafe racers rejoice – this is a monster of a bike by all accounts: 1200cc engine, 112Nm of torque, 103.5bhp from the liquid cooled parallel twin. This café racer will have all the mod cons you want; fully adjustable Showa forks and Ohlins twin shocks (both 120mm travel), Brembo discs up front and Nissin rear + ABS, with display features.
It really stole the show at the Triumph stand for me at Motorcycle Live 2019, and this internationally recognisable icon is no doubt going to inspire another generation of café racers as it did before. Bearing in mind the Triumph stand was packed with stunning bikes, as always, that’s praise indeed.
With 810mm seat height, 197kg dry weight and a 14.5L fuel capacity, it’s a very accessible bike that will no doubt set the world alight. Prices for this one will start at £13,000.
10. Aprilia RS 660
The RS 660 is heading a new range of middleweight bikes from Aprilia, and the key thing here is the brand-new 660cc parallel twin engine, making an remarkable 100bhp. The motor is derived from the impressive V4 1100cc and was chosen for its compactness and efficiency, yet will sound (and feel) like a V-twin thanks to a 270 degree firing interval. Somehow Aprilia have kept this monster of an engine Euro 5 compliant, as well as optimising space alongside the lightweight sleek frame to provide what should be an incredible ride.
At just 169kg dry and with adjustable 41mm KYB forks and rear shock, the RS 660 is effectively kitted out to be race-ready – however is primarily a road bike! Whilst it is definitely a sports bike, Aprilia have tailored the riding position with comfort at the forefront, plus included cornering ABS assist with the Brembo front and rear brakes, it’s set up as a perfect first step as an introduction to the supersports bike world. So this sounds like a great middleweight option for a beginner sports bike rider!