Though motorcyle riders may not be bombarded with next-year releases the same way car and truck drivers are, the crop of 2015 bikes is already shaping up to be something special. Harley-Davidson, the industry leader, unveiled a once-in-a-decade, all-new bike aimed at bringing in a younger and city-based clientele earlier in the year. That 2015 model looks poised to be a hot item across the bike-riding nation.
Elsewhere, an alternative to the Ducati Multistrada is arriving from an Italian stalwart, while a Victory classic and small-engine Suzuki bike are making their way in the lineup debuting in 2014. Here are six hot motorcyles appearing with a 2015 model-year badge.
1. 2015 Yamaha SR400 ($5,990)
Yamaha shows how old can be new again with its 2015 SR400 bike from Japan. Touches worthy of the twenty-first century include electronic fuel injection and disc brakes, but Yamaha keeps one foot in the Steve McQueen era by foregoing an electric starter in this new release. In other words, anyone longing for an up-to-date bike that still requires a kick-start will find plenty to love in the SR400.
Powered by a 399 cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine (one intake, one exhaust), Yamaha clearly aimed for simplicity in the new bike, which can get up to 66 mpg. As an assist to anyone who’s had trouble firing up a one-cylinder engine in the past, Yamaha provides a touch of modernity with the combination of decompressor and useful piston position indicator. As far as styling goes, the 2015 SR400 shares a lot in common with the original 1978 beauty.
2. 2015 Honda NM4 ($10,999)
Honda hinted at the future of its smaller-engine bikes with the Vultus concept, but in the 2015 NM4 it is delivering a model for consumers featuring the imposing front-end style. Powered by a 670 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, the bike will deliver low-rev juice that promises to handle with ease.
Once you start using the paddle-like buttons to engage the six-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission, you’ll feel the full reach of 2015 bike technology. As for comfort and control, the cozy 25.6-inch seat height will give beginners a leg up in managing any ride. This bike arrives in the U.S. in June 2014.
3. 2015 Suzuki TU250X ($4,399)
There continues to be an interest for entry-level bikes in the U.S., and Suzuki is obliging the market with the TU250X new for the 2015 model year. Available everywhere except emissions-obsessive California, this 249 cc air-cooled treat has a five-speed, constant-mesh transmission and weighs in at 326 pounds.
No fuel economy quote is available as of yet (hence the lack of California availability), but expect a great deal of efficiency as well as range in the 3.2 gallon tank. Pricing on the 2015 has not been raised since Suzuki’s last model TU250X from 2013.
4. 2015 Victory Gunner ($12,999)
Victory showed off its 2015 Gunner at the Chicago motorcycle show in February, and the updated model is already in production and ready for riders in 2014. Sporting the 4-stroke, 50-degree V-twin (Freedom 106) engine, the urban cruiser packs 110 lb-ft of torque to make highway rides a pleasure, while the 4.5-gallon tank provides enough range to keep riders on the road. A recall for a crankcase issue went out for some 2015 Gunner models built between January 22 and April 25 if this bike is on the horizon.
5. 2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 (est. $7,500-$8,000)
It’s been over ten years since Harley-Davidson debuted an all-new bike, so word of the Street 500 and 750 is traveling fast. Built for urban riders who want an engine somewhat smaller than the 883, the Street 750 provides substantial power for the everyday with 58 horsepower and 43 lb-ft of torque. Factoring in a weight of 489 pounds at the curb, there’s plenty of zip to enjoy in the Street 750.
Harley’s new Street line will feature the Revolution X liquid-cooled engine with six-speed transmission designed for cityscapes. As always, the engine will be tuned for that signature rumble.
6. 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ($15,499)
Ducati has cast a substantial shadow with its Multistrada adventure touring bikes, but Aprilia shows you can provide power and flair for thousands less with the 2015 Caponord 1200. For the coming model year, U.S. riders get a look at the 1197 cc-powered beast that disappeared for a few years stateside. Aprilia traction control, cruise control, and ABS are all on the menu in the new model.
Power output in the liquid-cooled DOHC can hit 125 horsepower and max 85 lb-ft of torque in this Aprilia, while options of Touring, Sport, and Rain (max 100 hp) allow for advanced control of the bike in motion. The Caponord 1200′s semi-active suspension provides another layer of advanced technology. Fuel economy is in the range of 40 mpg, while the tank holds 6.3 gallons.