It’s only March 3 and it’s snowing as I type. But all us two-wheel obsessives are dreaming of and anticipating April and the sun, the warm breeze and feeling of freedom only motorcycling can deliver.
Here are some prime machines coming our way this year. Some are new, some are tried-and-true, but all are worth a tire-kick, a test drive or a gawk.
Co-founded by actor Keanu Reeves in 2011 with master bike-builder Gard Hollinger, ARCH is a boutique, bespoke L.A.-based maker of great, limited-edition motorcycles.
This year brings a second trim, the handsome, powerful 1s. Motivating via a 124cc, high-torque V-twin engine, its basic DNA centers on a steel mainframe chassis with a machined billet aluminum subframe. Nodding at both cruisers and a street sport riding, you’ve got a single-sided swingarm and rear-to-mid-mounted foot controls. Billet aluminum, carbon fiber, and high-end parts and electronics are used through and through. Each motorcycle is built to order; they start at a hefty $128,000. If you’re so inclined, purchase includes attendance at an annual ride-and-camp trip with Reeves and Hollinger.
Ducati doesn’t make a bad motorcycle, and the SuperSport 950 and 950S are particularly compelling. The motorcycle is designed to be rideable all day, unlike some sport bikes where a day of blasting results in aches to the wrist and back. It got an update to its electronics last year among other minor tweaks. Otherwise it’s the same speedy fella.
It is also not the fastest model in the company’s fleet – and it’s not meant to be. You’re powered by a 937cc Testastretta 11º V-twin – the same used in their DesertX, the Monster, Hypermotard 950 and Multistrada V2. The 950 starts at $15,195 and is available in red only. The S comes in at $17,695, and edges up to $18,095 for Arctic White Silk.
The famous M1000RR gets a blast of muscle for 2023, with advanced aerodynamics massively increasing both stability and speed. It’s got a particularly ferocious 209.2 bhp four-cylinder, 999cc liquid-cooled ShiftCam inline engine arriving with forged pistons, CNC machined intake ports, ShiftCam valve timing and assorted other goodies designed to motivate you around town and around country roads.
It isn’t cheap, either, at around $30,500, But if you’ve got the scratch, this is the last stop before you get into true racing territory. Its top speed is listed at 195.1 MPH.
The all-new 800DE features a first – it’s designed for off-roading. It shares an engine with its brother GSX-8S but it’s got more power due to mapping changes and a special exhaust. The throttle has also been adjusted specifically to go off-road. Its “G” mode – it stands for “gravel” – helps you grip in the face of those pesky rocks. It’s also got a particularly more solid bolt-on subframe for greater cargo carrying of the type riders typically use when they head off into miles of woods. Its suspension is completely adjustable and you can, with careful throttle, squeeze up to 300 miles from a single tank. The options are many, too.
Buyers will find an exclusive ride here – only 150 Indian Challenger Elite models will be built. These get three riding modes, a special paint – “Sapphire Blue Smoke Paint with Black Smoke” as well as hardy Fox shocks with electronically adjustable rear preload, redesigned adaptive LED headlghts and a new slipper clutch to aid down-shifts, It makes a rocket-like 1768 CC, 120.7 bhp and 131.4 lb of torque. $30,000 takes it away.
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