NEW BIKES: BMW’s R1200GS will be updated with three distinct derivatives in 2017.Image: BMW
Cape Town - Two major European bike shows, the biennial Intermot show in Cologne, Germany and the annual EICMA in Milan, Italy, are among the main global showcases for new bike models.
In 2016 both these shows pointed to an interesting 2017 with exciting new models from just about every manufacturer, but which of these bikes will we actually see in South Africa?
We asked some of the mainstream local importers to shed some light on their 2017 model ranges, and the replies promise that South African bikers can expect much more than just scraps from the global banquet table.
It seems that small-capacity adventure bikes will be all the rage, with entries from Kawasaki, BMW and Honda in this segment. BMW has confirmed that the G310GS will land on our shores. The baby GS sports a 313cc single-cylinder engine that reportedly churns out 34 bhp and weighs in at 169.5 kg. On the other hand, Kawasaki’s Versys 300 fields a Ninja 300-derived 296 cc twin engine. A lightweight chassis and long-travel suspension with a 17” rear wheel and a 19” front wheel to make it a true light adventure bike.
BMW’s R1200GS gets updated with three distinct derivatives. The basic GS comes in three package options; Dynamic, Comfort and Touring. Added to the range is the GS Exclusive, a more road-oriented model, and the GS Rallye, best described as a combination of the standard GS and the GS Adventure, physically smaller than the GSA while retaining all of its off-road capability.
Honda will offer their CRF250 Rally, almost a shrunken version of the immensely successful CRF1000L Africa Twin. The Rally offers asymmetric LED headlights, new instruments, switchable ABS, and selectable rider modes. There’s a 21” hoop on the front end and an 18” one at the rear, and long-travel suspension to make it as credible an off-roader as any of its competitors.
Honda also has exciting news in the superbike category: South African riders can look forward to the new CBR 1000 RR Fireblade, which gets is a full electronics package to bring it right up to date. Peak power is 189 bhp, and the bike weighs in at 196 kg. Kawasaki will offer the ZX10-RR, which comes with light-weight Marchesini wheels, Brembo M50 front callipers and an Akrapovic silencer. From Suzuki’s side comes the new GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R. The former brings increased engine and chassis perfor-mance, reduced weight and a full suite of electronic rider aids. The latter receives advanced rider aids such as the IMU-influenced Motion Track Anti-Lock Brake System, clutchless up-and-down quick shifting, and a launch control system.
Ducati is not standing back in this department either– the Panigale 1299 Superleggera, which is claimed to be the first factory production bike to feature carbon-fibred frame, swing arm, subframe, wheels and fairing, will theoretically be available to local buyers. We say “theoretically” because the seven allocated to Ducati SA are already spoken for, but Ducati’s Johnny Araujo says that interested customers could add their names to a list in case one of the seven bikes becomes available.
Things are also looking promising in the mid-size category. Yamaha’s 2017 R6 features radical new styl-ing, ABS brakes, a new suspension and new electronic rider aids to bring the legend up to date. For the less track-oriented, Kawasaki offer their new Ninja 650 and Z650, successors to the ER-6f and ER-6n respectively, while Triumph will offer an updated 675 Street Triple. Despite a capacity increase of 90 cc, the new model is said to weigh slightly less than its predecessor.
The retro category will also be injected with some fresh models. Triumph’s range will include the Street Cup, based on the styling of the Street Twin, but with a host of new urban sports features, such as an authentic bullet seat and removable cafe racer seat cowl. From BMW we’ll see the Urban GS with stripped-back adventure styling, echoing the original R80GS of 1980. Ducati will add two new models to their ever-growing Scrambler range: the Desert Sled and the Cafe Racer.
Leading KTM’s onslaught on the adventure market is the 1290 Super Adventure T – a well-equipped 1301cc powerhouse with advanced electronics that will not leave the rider wanting. There are also lesser models in the 1290 range, as well as different 1090 models that feature the same technology found on the 1290 Super Adventure.
The bikes in this article are by no means the only ones to be launched this year, just some of the models that attracted our attention – there are more than we have space for in a single article. The fact is that 2017 is poised to be another bumper year for local bikers. We’ll attend launches and review bikes throughout the year to make sure that we keep you posted on what’s hot and what’s not.