2011 Models Hit the Street Running

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October 28, 2010 | By: Patrick Garvin

Don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but over the past year or so, motorcycle manufacturers haven’t exactly been giving us a whole lot of new models to get excited about. Just a quick look at the current models still sitting on the showroom floors should be evidence enough that some of last year’s offerings were bland.

Well this year it’s a different story. I don’t have the time and you probably don’t have the attention span for me to list every new change across the board, but there are a few notable new models that are definitely creating a buzz in the motorcycle community.

Rumors of the Ducati Diavel have been bandied about for months now, with spy shots (thanks to motoblog.it) all over the Internet, featuring shots of everything from a test bike in an accident to a prototype that Roland Sands created for the Italian manufacturer.

To date, Ducati hasn’t officially released the bike and the company’s only shown us one official picture. The so-called Super Cruiser sports a 240 tire on the back that has the purist in a bit of an uproar. But with a claimed 40-degree lean angle and a reported 456-pound weight, this new Duc sounds like it’s going to be light on its feet. For a powerplant, they turned to the Superbike-derived Testastretta motor with rumors of 140 to 170 horsepower and the option of traction control and ABS. Sounds to me like the new Ducati is about to set the cruiser market on its ear. And if that’s indeed the case, sign me up!

When designing the new BMW K1600, the folks at BMW took direct aim at the Goldwing with a stunning touring bike. The new in-line six-motor boasts 160 horsepower with more than 70 percent of the motor’s torque available at a mere 1,500 rpm! The K1600 is available in a fully dressed-out version — the GTL and a sportier GT model. As you would expect from BMW, the K1600 comes decked out with features galore, like throttle by wire, navigation system, ABS, traction control and a kickin’ stereo. Welcome to the new age of touring.

And I can’t possibly leave out the new big boy on the block — the all-new Kawasaki ZX-10r. This new Ninja had Internet buzz swirling around it all summer long, leading up to Kawasaki finally debuting the little monster. Weighing in at only 436 pounds and throwing down almost 200 horsepower at the wheel, this little piece of heaven should accelerate like a laser. Combine that with Kawasaki’s new big piston front end, standard traction control and optional ABS and this bike has the tools to handle the ridiculous horsepower-to-weight ratio. By summertime, racetracks everywhere are sure to be terrorized by this beast.

Kawasaki also brought a new cruiser to the table in the form of the Vulcan Vaquero, boasting a 1700cc four-valve per cylinder V-twin putting down 108 lbs.-ft of torque at only 2,750 rpm. With styling that metric cruisers have never seen, and features like a six-speed tranny and air-assisted shocks, the new Kawi cruiser will turn heads.

And Yamaha has chimed in on the cruiser scene as well, delivering the Stryker — a fuel-injected, belt-driven 1304cc V-twin. With its blacked-out theme and raked front end, the “chopper” inspired look is implied. The Star Motorcycles brand has been steadily building great bikes and a strong following for the past few years and this will only add to its already good-looking lineup.

There you have it. In a nutshell — a handful of two-wheeled awesomeness to look forward to over the summer. And now that you’re settling into your off-season grumpiness, this should give you a few things to mull over as you wait for spring to arrive. Who knows, maybe one of these beauties will grace your driveway next year.

Recession, what recession?

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