In the market for a new motorcycle? Here, in alphabetical order, are the top picks for the year. And remember: If you’re shopping for a new bike, make sure to get an insurance quote when you find something you like so there are no surprises after you commit. Base prices are listed below, but options will add to the total.
Aprilia Tuono 660 ($12,795) A sport bike without going overboard, the all-new Tuono 660 is light and advanced, and makes 100 horsepower from its parallel-twin engine. It’s not cheap and dealers for the Italian maker are few and far between, but that also means you’ll probably have the only one on your block, if not your town. If you want more plastic cladding to look more sporty, the RS660 is almost identical and costs $700 extra.
BMW G 310 R ($5,650)
BMW makes sport bikes that win races and touring bikes that travel the world, but the modest G 310 is where it all starts. It’s a small motorcycle intended more for easy riding in the city, and it’s comfortable and peppy. This year, it’s available as either a naked machine or an adventure tourer, and even as a “40 Years of GS” special edition. For 2021, it’s been updated to improve its emissions to Europe’s strict Euro 5 standards.
Ducati Monster ($13,495)
The all-new Monster now uses the larger, 937-cubic-centimetre L-twin Testastretta engine that bumps its power up to 110 horsepower. The old steel trellis frame is gone, replaced with a lighter aluminum frame and even a plastic composite subframe. Ducati’s electronics are among the best in the business and the bike’s IMU stability-control system includes leaning anti-lock brakes and launch control as standard.
Harley-Davidson Pan America ($20,999)
It’s a whole new motorcycle and a new genre for Harley-Davidson as the American maker splashes its wheels into the lucrative adventure-touring segment. The Pan America has been getting rave reviews, including from me, and it deserves to be considered by anyone who’s thinking about venturing onto the road less travelled.
Honda Rebel 1100 ($9,299)
Honda makes its Rebel line for riders who are either new to motorcycling or challenged in height. The problem is that the 300cc and 500cc machines tend to grow stale quickly and their owners want more power. Now, the 1100cc Rebel offers 86 horsepower and a full range of electronic technology for a safe and easy ride, including an automatic dual-clutch transmission for an extra $700. Just make sure you’re not too tall to be comfortable on its superlow seat.
Indian Chieftain Elite ($42,999)
If you want a big American cruiser that’s not a Harley, then Indian is the logical choice. The storied maker was bought by Polaris in 2011 and its wide variety of models are both modern and competitive. Many owners think its Thunder Stroke engine is the best V-twin on the market, and after riding a Chieftain Elite around Southern California a couple of years ago, I can’t disagree. If you’re going to invest in an Indian, you might as well go big or go home, hence the recommendation for its bored-out tourer.
Kawasaki KLR650 ($7,499)
Kawasaki cancelled the beloved KLR650 in 2018 after a production run of more than 30 years. Riders thought emissions controls had killed the big single-cylinder bikes, known as thumpers, but now the KLR is back as a 2022 model with many upgrades, including fuel injection and ABS brakes (a $300 option). It’s still a simple, fix-it-yourself machine, though. This basic 40-horsepower model only costs $300 more than before, and there’s an Adventure model with luggage and various touring upgrades that lists for $9,999.
Suzuki Hayabusa ($22,399)
The Hayabusa has been around since 1999 and was once the world’s most powerful production motorcycle. With 188 horsepower on tap, the new third generation is still right up there and its appeal as a “gentleman’s tourer” is as strong as ever; a rider just won the 22,000-kilometre Iron Butt Rally on a 2008 model. For this year, Suzuki’s engineers tweaked more power from the low- and mid-ranges, improved the chassis and added up-to-date safety technology.
Triumph Trident 660 ($8,999)
While other makers produce twins and fours, Triumph is known for its triple-cylinder engines, and the all-new Trident is the British maker’s affordable entry into the mid-sized naked bike market. It’s not expensive, but it does have quality parts, including a colour TFT screen, Showa suspension and Michelin tires. The 80-horsepower Trident is intended to be all things to (almost) all people, without costing too much.
Yamaha YZF-R7 ($10,799)
One of the most anticipated motorcycles this year, the parallel-twin R7 is a more affordable replacement for the legendary inline-four R6 screamer. It’s a superlight and agile sport bike that’s based on Yamaha’s MT-07, and it fits nicely between the R3 introductory bike and the R1 superbike that still compromises nothing. The R7 makes 70 horsepower and includes track-ready suspension, brakes and a redesigned chassis, as well as up-to-date electronics.