Streetbikes We Can’t Wait To Ride in 2018 — Aaand, we’re back! We hope you all had a great holiday season and are getting ready to spin even more laps, miles, trails, and triples as the world’s bike manufacturers come out swinging with new metal for you to spend your hard-earned dollars on.
For us here at Cycle News, we’ll be going harder than ever to bring you all the best tests and content from our two-wheeled world but seeing as I’m responsible for the tarmac side of the testing seen on this site, we’ll stick to that for today.
So here we go—these are the bikes we can’t wait to throw a leg over and bring you all the juicy goss in 2018…
Ducati Panigale V4
Come on, could it be any other? This is the bike that’s sent people gaga since it was unveiled at the EICMA Show in Milan last year.
Ducati’s first mass-production V4 (and no, that doesn’t include the delectable and super-rare Desmosedici RR D16 of 2006) is going to pack a claimed 214hp and 88 lb-ft of torque from its 1103cc, with the Speciale edition claiming a staggering 226hp! Top that off with some of the best Öhlins you can get and all the electronics you can possibly think of, and you have a bike that will truly be a landmark, not just for Ducati but the superbike class as a whole.
Check out our Ducati Panigale V4 First Look right here.
Kawasaki Ninja 400
From one end of the sportbike realm to the other. The little Ninja 400 is going to be one of those bikes a 16-year-old will dream of, and rightly so. It replaces the Ninja 300, and now sits atop the Junior Supersport class with the largest capacity (399cc) and cylinder count (twin)—the closest competitor now the twin-cylinder Yamaha R3 at 300cc, and the single-cylinder KTM RC390 at 390cc.
Kawasaki claims this little beast will weigh about the same as the old Ninja 250, with its wheelbase just shy of an inch shorter at 53.9 inches.
The MotoAmerica Junior Supersport class will most likely have a large smattering of green in it next year, as it graduates from the one-make KTM RC Cup that ran for the past three seasons.
Check out our U.S. debut coverage from the New York IMS on the Ninja 400 right here.
Yamaha Star Eluder
Yamaha’s going after the big daddy Honda Gold Wing with their new Star Eluder. It’s the first time the Tuning Fork has had a proper crack at the mega touring market and they’re doing it with an all-new machine, powered by their 1854cc air-cooled twin, which pumps out a solid 126 lb-ft of torque.
But it’s not just the motor we’re eager to try, as the Eluder comes in a tough bagger appearance that gives it equal footing with the BMW K 1600 B six-cylinder bagger and the Honda F6B bagger.
Here’s our First Look at the Yamaha Star Eluder right here.
Don’t hate us. Please. We’re pumped to ride the Niken because it’s something radically different—way different to anything Yamaha has tried before.
It’s still got an MT-09 as its base, which on its own is a staggeringly good motorcycle. But the fact Yamaha has given the Niken two front wheels has us intrigued. Will it corner better than anything before with the extra rubber up front? Or will it be a total pig that can’t get out of its own way? Either way, we are seriously keen to find out. And no, the Niken doesn’t stand up on its own (Yamaha told us so recently).
Check out our First Look at the Yamaha Niken right here.
Husqvarna FS 450
It’s a 450cc supermoto, built by the Husqvarna factory. This is surely what Steve McQueen would ride if he were alive today. Seriously, need we say more?
Check out our First Look right here.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
Well, let’s just say the Vitpilen 701 and the 401. The Vitpilen range has been teased at us for too long—we first saw it in prototype mode nearly two years ago—but the wait is finally over and this year we’ll get the chance to throw a leg over this little weapon.
The 701 sports the KTM 690 Duke motor while the 401 gets the 390 Duke engine. Both are a single-cylinder lump, both have this classic/futuristic design to them and both are sure to be a blast to ride. We’ll let you know how they go just as soon as we get our hands on them.
Check out our 701 First Look right here and 401 First Look right here.
Kawasaki H2 SX and SX SE
These are going to be, without doubt, the maddest, baddest sport touring motorcycles ever created. Based off the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2, the SX and SX SE will be the perfect bikes for you to break your personal cannonball record in supreme comfort—and promises to be more than just the horsepower drug the original bike was (not that we’re complaining about it).
The H2 SX and SX SE will thus take over the mantle of Kawasaki’s super touring mantle from the still available Kawasaki Concorse, itself a perfect example of big mile, big speed style (but it doesn’t come with a supercharger, and that’s worth brownie points, right?).
Check out our H2 SX and SX SE First Look from the New York IMS right here.
KTM 790 Duke
OK—this bike is not scheduled to be on sale until 2019, but we’ll still get the chance to ride it next year, so it gets included in this list.
KTM’s mid-size Duke is dubbed ‘The Scalpel’, and it’s easy to see why. 105 hp, 63 lb-ft or torque and a curb weight of just 418 lb will make the 790 Duke one hell of a ride. It’ll best be enjoyed with one, rather than two, riders, as you’ll be pulling wheelies and stoppies everywhere you go, right? Probably not, but it’s nice to think you will, as in the 790 Duke you’ll certainly have the tool to do it. This is one bike we cannot wait to ride!
Check out our First Look on the 2019 KTM 790 Duke right here.
Honda Africa Twin Sport
Our favorite Adventure bike just got better in the 2018 Honda Africa Twin Sport. We’ve crowned the Africa Twin twice as our favorite adventure bike in our head-to-head tests, and recently we’ve spent the last six months adding bits to a base AT that the Sport now comes with as standard.
The Sports gets a bigger tank, better pegs, taller screen, 12V plug socket and longer travel suspension, so maybe we did all that work for nothing with our long termer? If you’ve got plans to go trans-continent riding anytime soon, this bike has to be top of your list.
Check out our First Look on the Honda Africa Twin Sport right here.
Honda Gold Wing
It’s been over 15 years, but the granddaddy of luxury touring is finally getting a proper, enhanced makeover. Not just some new clothes, the 2018 Gold Wing is all new. New motor, chassis, suspension, ergonomics, body and 80 pounds less weight, as well as an infotainment system to rival a luxury car, this is going to be one special machine.
It’s not for everybody, but no one can deny the impact the Honda Gold Wing name has had on the world of motorcycling. It’s great to see Honda finally put the most famous name in touring back on center stage.
Check out our First Look at the Honda Gold Wing right here.