The most two-wheeled fun you can get for your money.
In many parts of the county, a chill in the air might mean it's time to hang up the riding gear for the season. But we say it's also a great time to shop for the latest bikes. The industry is cranking out plenty of smaller, less expensive bikes these days, and seriously great deals are abundant on many of the newest and coolest models.
Here are some of the latest two-wheelers that are not only great to ride but pack plenty of value, too.
Base Price: $10,995
http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/gallery/ Zero has come a long way since we rode the company's very first prototype back in 2008. But what hasn't changed is that batteries are expensive. The good news is that if you have a relatively modest commute, Zero's least expensive street bike might fit the bill. The Zero S ZF7.2 uses a new 7.2 kWh battery pack that provides a maximum range of 89 miles or about half that amount at a steady 70 mph.
The Zero S can be optioned with packs as large as 16.6 kWh. But a smaller battery pack means there's less weight to slog around, and on a motorcycle, that makes a big difference. This model checks in at just over 300 pounds. That's very light, almost 140 pounds less than the Zero S model with the largest battery pack. And Zero is quick to point out that the space that isn't used for that larger pack on this bike is simply storage. And because this is an EV, you crank the throttle and thrust happens immediately.
The Zero S is a relatively quick charger, too. The battery can be at 95 percent capacity in just over 4 hours with a standard charger or about an hour with the maximum accessory charger.
2018 BMW R Nine T Pure
Base Price: $11,995
The R Nine T lineup of retro-styled roadsters is arguably the most desirable bikes in the BMW line. They are all just dripping with cool. But the trouble is, these sweet-looking and sweet-riding standards are expensive. Well BMW finally has a lower price model that saves thousands and retains most of the good stuff.
Of course, between the frame rails sits the same 110 hp horizontally-opposed twin with sounds and vibrations that echo the design of the bike—pure '70s and '80s BMW. What's missing is the expensive Ohlins suspension, big brakes, and some brightwork. Oh, and the only color available is Catalano Grey. But none of that detracts from the experience. For the cost savings of nearly four grand—we won't miss that stuff.
That said, the Pure uses rather common-looking aluminum alloy wheels. If you want those gorgeous cross spoke wheels on the original R Nine T, it will cost you about $500.
2018 Indian Scout Bobber
Base Price: $11,500
Since Polaris acquired the classic Indian brand back in 2011, the company has been a hit, and maybe the most universally loved revival bike of that brand is the Scout. But now that Polaris has closed its progressively-styled muscle cruiser brand Victory—Indian is free to become a little more edgy. And the most progressive bike yet is the new Scout Bobber.
Indian chopped the fenders, lowered the suspension by an inch or so, pulled the foot pegs closer to the rider and installed flatter handle bars, all to give the Scout and meaner and sportier look. The almost-knobby tires really give this machine a rebellious look, as do those dual cannon-style exhaust pipes that extend nearly to the end of the rear tire. The whole vibe is very aggressive and very stylish.
The Scout's V-Twin is largely unchanged and develops a solid 100 hp. The Bobber's standard color is black and other hues, as well as ABS brakes are available as extra-cost options. But what you get for the base price is a bike that has simply excellent detailing like the ingot-like tank badging, drop down mirrors, and a beautiful leather seat.
2018 Suzuki GSX250R
Base Price: $4,865
Suzuki might be one of the last to the entry-level small displacement sportbike scene, but its new GSX250R certainly one to consider. The design is a bit of a mashup of Suzuki bikes from the Katana heritage to the current ultra-performance GSX-Rs—and that's no bad thing. The 248cc parallel twin has been revised from its days in the old GW250 with fresh internals and a new EFI on top. The result is an engine that's cleaner, more efficient, and willing to rev a bit more. Rev it hard, and you'll have just under 25 hp pushing you down the road. That may not sound like much but its within 1 hp of the best in the class.
The great thing about these smaller bikes, besides the low price and exemplary (70 mpg) fuel economy, is that they are easy to ride, and that's the case here, too. And thanks to the low 31.1-inch seat height, nearly any novice can swing a leg over a GSX250R and feel comfortable.
As an added bonus, the four-gallon tank means this bike can comfortable cruise up to 280 miles between fill-ups. That means this bike could take you from LA to Vegas and back for less than $25.
2018 Kawasaki Z650
Base Price: $7,000
The Z650 is really a sportbike in disguise because it shares the same basic parallel twin engine as well as a chassis with the Ninja 650. The 400-pound machine has strong midrange thrust, which is just as helpful on a backroad as it is on a downtown commute. The light lever feel and standard slipper clutch means that downshifts will be smoother without the fear of over-revving the engine or partially locking up the rear tire. Those of smaller stature could use the Z650 as a daily rider since the low 30.9-inch seat height means it's easy to handle. In terms of style, we dig this bike's forward-looking design as well as the contrasting Kawasaki green paint on the frame rails—a very cool touch.
2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Base Price: $11,900
Triumph is on a serious roll. The all-new Bobber model, which launched earlier this year, has been a hot seller for the British brand, and Triumph pulls off that classic bobbed-fender hot rod style with very unique and finely executed details. It's minimalist and very tough-looking. A big part of the look comes from that floating hard tail-style seat, which is adjustable to fit a variety of rider sizes.
The parallel twin sits in a unique chassis and has 1200cc of displacement. The big twin makes 77 hp and 78 lb-ft of torque. That's not enough to outrun the most potent cruisers, especially since this beast weighs in around 500 pounds, but it's certainly enough to have plenty of fun.
An even meaner-looking Bobber Black model has blacked-out trim, larger brakes, fork, and front wheel, and counter to what one might imagine, this old-school machine has cruise control, too. If there's one thing that's consistent among all Bobber models, it's quality. All the parts on this bike feel like they belong on a more expensive one.
2018 Aprilia Shiver 900
Base Price: $9,400
Aprilia has a knack for developing aggressive-looking machines with minimal bodywork. The company's top naked bike, the Touno, has been one of the best in the world in all its generations since 2002. Now the mid-size naked Shiver, which debuted as a 750 back in 2007, gets a big update with a modest $700 bump in price.
The V-Twin has been punched-out to 896cc and delivers 95 hp as well as a boost in torque. The big twin sounds great through those cannon-like exhaust pipes, too. There are plenty of rough and rowdy naked machines that offer an edgier experience on the back roads. The Shiver might look as aggressive but it's really a mellower middleweight designed to be a bit friendlier for newer riders. The new Shiver not only has ABS but a tri-mode traction control system to help keep the tires on the road, and the new TFT display is a big improvement.
2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
Base Price: $14,500
It's not often that Harley-Davidson completely redesigns and re-engineers its bikes, and it's rarer still when that new bike replaces two complete Harley lines. And yet, that's what happened here.
This new Softail not only replaces the old Softail but the Dyna lineup, too. To do that, Harley developed an all-new, lighter chassis with better lean angles. So, it has the custom Softail look reminiscent of the old bike mixed with the sportier ride of the Dyna. Between those rails sits the 1753 cc version new Milwaukee 8 V-Twin engines that debuted last year on the company's biggest bikes for a smoother, more efficient and torque rich thrust.
The least expensive way to get into a new Softail is the Street Bob. It's blessed with fairly generous clearance from the mid-mounted pegs and a thoroughly modern suspension. So this is perhaps the first Softail that won't be out-of-place on a twisty road. Because the Street Bob is essentially stripped of any heavy fairings and accessories that sometimes weigh down Harley's bikes, this one should feel quite snappy when you roll on the throttle.
2018 Honda CB650F
Base Price: $8,250
http://hondanews.com/powersports/channels/cb650f-p...This one has been trolling European streets for a few years now. However, it's not a complete stranger. The CB650F is basically a stripped-down version of the CBR650F wearing taller handle bars.
It's the perfect machine to battle foes in the red-hot middle-weight naked bike class. The difference here is that Honda has two more cylinders than the competition. The 649cc inline four-cylinder cranks out the most power in this class, and that smooth motor positively sings when revved all the way to 12,000 rpm.
The downside is that it doesn't have the torquey-whallop down low in the rev range as some twins do. The CB650F is not only reasonably quick but also very comfortable. It's also quite handsome. This CB650F is easily one of the best-looking bikes in the class.