Fuel For Thought: 2022 Set To Be a Vintage Year for new Bikes

The world does seem to have entered 2022 with a renewed vigour and not nearly so much wailing and gnashing of teeth which was a characteristic of the 2020-into-2021 transition. Maybe we have had a collective good look at ourselves and realised that it doesn’t matter what we think, the world will get back to normal ways when it’s good and ready and there’s pretty much nothing we can do to change that, so we might as well get on with life.

Image source: Aprilia

That certainly seems to have been the outlook of motorcycle manufacturers around the world. The blip that was hard lockdown in 2020 only served to give them more time to dream up, even more, mouth-watering new models for us to drool over when the time was right and, luckily, the time for them to emerge from the chrysalis seems to be 2022.

The following is a (possibly incomplete) run-down of what we can expect to see in the showrooms in the coming months and, as an antidote to the January blues, there can be nothing better than the prospect of not only some re-worked existing models, but some brand new delicacies as well.

Image source: BMW Motorrad

In the spirit of fairness, we’re going to do this alphabetically, even if we secretly desire some models more than others, as is only natural. The simple fact, however, is that this list demonstrates that the world of motorcycling is in rude good health and shows no sign of capitulating to the increasing attempts to stop us doing something that some are convinced is detrimental to our health. Quite the opposite: those who ride are generally happier and more fulfilled than those who rely solely on four-wheeled transport and we’ll never tire of trying to convert the unwashed masses.

Aprilia

Aprilia are concentrating on the 660 platform, with the Tuareg 660 adventure bike vying for supremacy in the increasingly popular middleweight segment. Powered by the 659cc parallel-twin engine that does service in the RS660 and Tuono 660, there are new camshafts in the Tuareg’s engine to bring torque delivery much lower down the rev range, while power output is pegged at 80bhp.

Image source: Aprilia

Traction control and ABS can both be switched off but there is no internal measurement unit which means no lean-sensitive ABS or TC, but that does not need to be a deal-breaker.

There’s also a Factory version of the Tuono 660, which gets a 5bhp power hike and more adjustable KYB/Sachs suspension at the front/rear.

Read ZA Bikers test report (here).

Image source: Aprilia

Ducati

The Bologna deity is committed to giving us thrills on and off-road in 2022. The Streetfighter V4 SP sheds a load of weight through the use of carbon wheels and other carbon fibre goodies scattered here and there to pare weight down to 198kg wet, while retaining the monstrous 208bhp power output. Whoever thought that the KTM Super Duke R with 180bhp was pushing the envelope too far for a naked sports bike obviously neglected to pass the memo onto Ducati, who demonstrate that glorious Italian knack for not giving a damn about what might be deemed to be too much.

Image source: Ducati Italy

Slightly less bonkers is the Streetfighter V2 which could be seen as a naked Panigale V2 but has a longer swingarm and revised gearing and power delivery, together with naked styling, meaning a much more relaxed riding position but no less fun.

A very significant new model from Ducati is the new DesertX adventure/enduro bike. The all-new DesertX utilises a steel trellis chassis and rolls on 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wire-spoked wheels wrapped in OE-fitted Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber, allowing for maximum ground clearance and off-road mobility.

Image source: Ducati Italy

It is powered by the 937cc 11° Testastretta V-twin as seen in the Multistrada V2 and Monster models, which is rated at 110 horsepower at 9,250, with dedicated internal gear ratios with emphasis on off-road performance, first through fifth being much shorter in comparison to the Multistrada, while sixth is longer for tarmac stretches of riding.

It gets the six-axis Bosch IMU-based electronic rider-aid suite, offering six selectable riding modes including Sport, Touring, Urban, and Wet modes. Furthermore, an Enduro mode reduces power and increases electronic intervention while Rally model enables full power delivery and reduced intervention.

Image source: Ducati Italy

If the Scrambler is style over substance and the Multistrada Enduro simply too large (and expensive) to throw around convincingly off-road, then the DesertX might just be the Ducati you’ve been waiting for.

Harley-Davidson

2021 was always going to be hard to top for Harley-Davidson; after all, the world’s most traditional manufacturer moving into a field it has never played in and knocking the ball out of the park would be a hard act to follow. However, the Pan America adventure bike was merely the first shot in a volley of new models that will use the new Revolution Max, water-cooled v-twin engine and the second model is about to hit our shores in the shape of the Sportster S.

Photo credit: Jürgen Muntzeroli / ZA Bikers

The old Sportster was so long in the tooth that it was obvious its time was up, even had emissions regulations not pushed it out of so many markets. Harley chose to keep the essence of the old Sporty with the new Sportster S but that is where the similarity ends. The Sportster S is the ‘baby’ cruiser for the 21st century. The engine has been de-tuned from 150bhp as found in the Pan America to 121bhp in the Sportster S but that is almost twice what the old 1200cc Sportster had and the chassis is all-new and thoroughly modern.

Read ZA Bikers test report (here).

Husqvarna Norden 901

The Norden 901 will be Husqvarna’s first foray into large-capacity adventure bikes, having previously stuck to MX and enduro machinery, although the arrival of the Swartpilen and Witpilen demonstrated new thinking in the company. Coming under the same umbrella as KTM and GasGas, it is obvious that the Norden 901 is based heavily on the KTM 890 Adventure but it promises to have its very own flavour. The ZA Bikers launch report was published last November, a bit too recent to re-hash the information here.

You can find the report (here).

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Kawasaki

No new models per se, but the H2 SX SE gets Kawasaki’s Advanced Rider Assist, otherwise known as radar detection, working with the adaptive cruise control. It also gets semi-active Showa Skyhook suspension to take the tech package into the stratosphere. The engine remains the same and, really, why would it need to be changed? With nearly 200bhp of supercharged urge, there was never anything wrong with the way the H2 went!

Image source: Kawasaki

There’s an SE version of the retro Z900 RS, which adds uprated suspension to an already accomplished package and new colours are available. Joining the Z900 is the Z650RS, a similarly retro version of the Z650 and copying the style of the 1970’s Z650, although using a parallel-twin engine and not an in-line four.

Read ZA Bikers test report (here).

Photo credit: Jürgen Muntzeroli / ZA Bikers

Finally, the Versys 650 gets new front end styling, bringing it right up to date.

KTM

Nothing major from the Austrian brand but the Super Duke R evolves into the R Evo, which gets electronic suspension from WP with anti-dive technology. Of course, there is the Super Duke 1290 RR but, unless you were very quick off the mark, you’re not getting your hands on one as all 500 units sold out within 50 minutes of going on sale.

Image source: KTM Austria

The other 1290 model to get a re-vamp is the Super Duke GT, where the madness of the Super Duke is allied to more comfort and practicality to create the ultimate mile-eater that loves the curves as much as it does the highway. It gets the lightweight wheels from the Super Duke R and a new TFT dash and new switchgear.

Image source: KTM Austria

Moto Guzzi

Huge news from Moto Guzzi for the first time in who knows how long and very welcome it is too. The new Mandello V100 is the first Guzzi to feature water-cooling for the cylinders. The engine is still the transverse v-twin, with a capacity of 1042cc, four valves per cylinder, wet-sump and hydraulic clutch. The engine is incredibly compact, being 10cm shorter than the engine in the V85. 113bhp and 105Nm are claimed, with 90% of torque available from just 3500rpm. Rev limit is 9500rpm. There’s a single-sided swingarm but now it is mounted low to avoid torque reaction.

Image source: Moto Guzzi

The Mandello’s party piece is the active aerodynamics in the form of two fold-out wind deflectors mounted on the side of the tank. Guzzi claims that, in their outstretched position, they reduce air pressure on the rider by as much as 22%, aiding long-distance touring. The screen is electrically adjustable.

There’s a six-axis IMU offering up lean-sensitive TC and ABS and cornering lights. The top-of-the-range model comes with Ohlins semi-active suspension, quick shifter and heated grips.

Image source: Moto Guzzi

To say that this is an important model for Moto Guzzi would be an understatement and it would be great to see it further improve the fortunes of the venerable manufacturer with such a storied history.

MV Agusta

Under its new Russian owner, Timur Sardarov, MV seems to have, for the first time in many a decade, a new stability, giving rise to an ever-improving model line-up.

2022 will see the introduction of a massively significant brand new model in the shape of the Lucky Explorer 9.5. As the name suggests, it is a full-fat adventure bike, using a stretched version of the company’s 800cc triple-cylinder engine, taken out to 931cc.

Image source: MV Agusta

Taking obvious inspiration from the Cagiva Elefant Paris-Dakar Rally bikes, sponsored by Lucky Strike, in the 1980s, the 9.5 (and smaller-engined, more road orientated 5.5) is, in the words of MV, a modern interpretation ‘of the spirit of the African rallies of the golden age’. In other words, it is an adventure bike, without which no manufacturer is complete these days.

At the heart of the 9.5 is MV’s new 950 triple, developed specifically for this model, pumping out 123bhp and 101Nm of torque. The chassis of the bike is made of steel with a light aluminium swing-arm all sitting on dirt-friendly 21”/18” wheels and long-travel suspension (8.6” front/8.3” rear). In addition, the bike’s wet clutch will come in two versions: standard and automatic Rekluse.

Image source: MV Agusta

The 5.5 version has a 550cc 2 cylinder, in-line liquid-cooled engine delivering 47.6bhp and 51Nm of torque.

Suzuki

Since 2015, the GSX-S1000 models, in both naked and faired form, have been two of the best models in their respective categories. Powered by the bullet-proof K5 long-stroke inline four-cylinder engine from the 2005 GSX-R1000, it was a brilliant mixture of rock-solid engineering and blistering performance.

Read ZA Bikers test report (here).

Photo credit: Jürgen Muntzeroli / ZA Bikers

For 2022, the naked GSX-S1000 gets sharp new styling while the faired “F’ model grows up to become the GSX-S1000 GT sports tourer, with a whole new dose of long-distance practicality.

It is immediately obvious that Suzuki has extensively re-worked the old ‘F’ model, which was never hugely convincing as a long-distance tourer. Now, the fairing and screen are much larger, adopting the new sharp-edged styling that graces the naked version. Ergonomics have been completely refined and colour-coded panniers are available. In short, this is the sports tourer that the GSX-S1000F was always trying to be.

Image source: Suzuki Motorcycles

With 150bhp on tap and a wonderfully solid and stable chassis, there is now equal emphasis on both ‘sport’ and ‘touring’.

Triumph

Every year has been a big year for Triumph and 2022 is going to be no different.

Image source: Triumph UK

The completely new Tiger 1200 is sure to shake up the large-capacity adventure segment as much as the Tiger 900 did a year or two ago in the mid-sized category. It’s lost weight, gained power and usability through the use of the T-Plane crank which gives the low-down grunt of a twin and the screaming red-line of a triple. Call it the best of both worlds.

The Speed Triple RR adds a beautiful half-fairing to the established and brilliant Speed Triple 1200 RS package.

Image source: Triumph UK

If it stops short of being a full-on superbike, it is Triumph’s own take on the genre, leading to a brilliant and usable bike that is a combination of the best of both worlds.

It gets Ohlins semi-active suspension in addition to the cafe racer fairing and, in line with all Triumph offerings, it is beautifully made and supremely stylish. While it has clip-on handlebars, the riding position isn’t as extreme as a superbike while being more extreme than the naked Speed Triple RS. There really isn’t much out there that combines style and performance in the same way.

Image source: Triumph UK

Also from Triumph is the new Tiger Sport 660, the latest variation on the Trident 660 theme. Expect it to be just as much fun as the naked bike, with a whole new dose of practicality at what is sure to be a very competitive price.

Will 2022 be the year that we see Triumph’s entry into the MX and Enduro market? We’re not sure about that but it remains a mouth-watering prospect.

Image source: Triumph UK

What We Wish We Were Getting

If that’s not enough to keep you satisfied, we’d have to agree as there are one or two bikes that we will sadly not be seeing in South Africa, although never say never.

Image source: Buell Motorcycles

Who wouldn’t be excited about the Buell 1190 Hammerhead? Picking up where Buell left off, the new sports bike will be powered by the 1190cc Rotax v-twin engine last seen in Buells ten years ago before everything went belly-up.

With the TVS buy-out of the remains of Norton in the UK and the establishment of a new factory, it seems the future of the iconic British brand is secure. Whether we see the new V4SV sports bike or the V4CR naked in SA is another matter.

Image source: Norton Motorcycles

And finally, another British brand – BSA – has been revived, yet again by an Indian manufacturing giant. Mahindra, via its Classic Legends arm, is the parent company and recently also revived the Jawa name. The first model is a 650cc single-cylinder engined model called the Gold Star 650. It toes the ‘modern classic’ line faithfully and gives rise to the mouth-watering prospect of three iconic British marques going head-to-head in showrooms for the first time in 50 years. Who wouldn’t be fascinated by that?

Harry has been obsessing about motorbikes for over 45 years, riding them for 38 years and writing and talking about them for 13 years. In that time, he has ridden everything from an Aprilia to a Zundapp, from the 1920s to the 2020s. His favourites are the ones that didn’t break down and leave him stranded. While he loves the convenience of modern bikes, he likes nothing better than getting his hands dirty keeping old bikes running, just as long as it’s not by the roadside! Old enough to know better and young enough not to care, he knows you don’t stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding.