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The Motorcycle World In 2024: What We’re Looking Forward To Riding

Image source: Yamaha

Another motorcycling year is almost done and yet, the industry itself doesn’t really see one year being any different to the previous year, even if models are delineated by their arrival date to market. It’s more a case of constant evolution of models, with a few brand-new models appearing year by year. Having said all that, 2024 promises to be an interesting year with some significant models as well as some revised models. Here, in no particular order, are the models we’re really looking forward to.

KTM 990 Duke

Of all the motorcycle manufacturers, KTM concentrates primarily on naked road-going bikes, the 390 Duke at one end of the scale and the 1390 Super Duke R at the other (we’ll conveniently ignore the range of small-displacement faired RC models for now!)

Image source: KTM

In the middle have been 790 and 890 Duke models but, for 2024, there is the new 990 Duke. It uses a development of the LC8c parallel twin as used in the 790 and 890 models, enlarged to 947cc and pushing out 123 horsepower and 103Nm of torque, housed in a new chassis, suspended by WP Apex suspension, stopped by KTM-branded brakes and weighing a class-lightest 394 pounds. KTM claims the ergonomics have been updated but expects the 990 Duke to be as uncompromising as all its predecessors and just as razor-sharp.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X

Massive news from Triumph, even if it is not unexpected as spy shots have been circulating for at least a year. This will be Triumph’s first single-cylinder engine in over 50 years and is a fuel-injected DOHC unit, developing 40 horsepower and 28 foot-pounds of torque, with the bulk of the latter available from 2500rpm up to 9500rpm.

Image source: Triumph

Slightly longer-travel suspension than the Speed 400 but, in reality, this is more of a ‘street scrambler’ with style more important than real-world off-road ability. However, Metzeler Karoo Street tires will work well off-road, while the 19-inch front/17-inch rear tire sizes mean that there will be plenty of street rubber that can be fitted if there is no intention to head off-road. 395 pounds is the all-in weight and, if Triumph has maintained the build quality of its larger models, it’s hard to see this not being a huge success.

Triumph Speed 400

The Speed 400 is the ‘sporting roadster’ model of the new 400cc line-up and is mechanically identical to the Scrambler 400 X. The engine was designed by Triumph in the UK and the bike will be built in India thanks to Triumph’s Bajaj tie-in.

Image source: Triumph

The throttle is ride-by-wire, giving access to traction control, the gearbox has six speeds, mated to a slip and assist clutch. Suspension is by Showa, seat height a low 31 inches, disc brakes are clamped by Bybre callipers, and there’s an analogue speedometer with a digital display, not dissimilar to Triumph dashboards of years gone by.

Image source: Triumph

LED lighting is used all around and there is no reason to expect anything other than Triumph build-quality, which is among the best from any manufacturer. From a distance, you’ll have to look carefully to realise it’s not a Speed Twin 1200 and that’s only going to add to the appeal.

BMW R 1300 GS

By BMW’s own admission, the boxer-twin engine was reaching the limits of development with the R 1250 GS but, contrary to that expectation, BMW has completely re-engineered the engine and, if displacement has risen only a small amount – 46cc – to make it a true 1,300cc, it’s still an enlargement, although how much bigger it can get is open to conjecture.

Image source: BMW

It still has the Shiftcam variable valve timing and power is up to 145 horsepower. Perhaps more importantly, the overall weight of BMW’s big adventure bike has been reduced by 26 pounds and BMW says the ethos behind the new model was to reverse the trend of adventure motorcycles getting ever bigger and more bulky.

Image source: BMW

Huge electronics package and Harley-copying self-lowering suspension when at rest. The new R 1300 GS might be light years away from the very first R80 G/S of the early 1980s, but the goal remains the same: peerless performance, practicality and durability on any road surface the world can throw at it.

Aprilia RS 457

A lot of manufacturers are looking to the smaller classes in the pursuit of sales success and Aprilia has joined the fray with the new RS 457. It is powered by a liquid-cooled DOHC twin-cylinder engine, pushing out 47 horsepower and looks to all the world like a miniature RSV4, which will do it no harm whatsoever.

Image source: Aprilia

The aluminium frame uses the engine as a stressed member and weight is kept down to an excellent 385 pounds. Technology that was once the preserve of flagship models has trickled down and you’ll get ride-by-wire throttle, with three riding modes, dual channel ABS, a full-colour TFT dash and a not-too-extreme riding position.

Image source: Aprilia

If it has all the Aprilia DNA, it is sure to be great fun on the road or track. Whether we’ll see it in South Africa after the collapse of the local Aprilia importer is another matter but it doesn’t stop us wanting desperately to ride one.

BMW R 12 nineT

It’s hard to believe that the R nineT has been around for ten years already and it was ready for an update. The name of the new model is confusing and, as there are no specifications available as yet, there’s no way of telling what the displacement will be, although the pictures tell us it is still air/oil-cooled.

Image source: BMW

The overall design is the same but it has been tweaked and has a more aggressive look to it and BMW tells us that the frame is new, the forks inverted and the Brembo calipers radially mounted. The original RnineT was launched to celebrate 90 years of BMW Motorrad so it’s only fitting that the model receives an update for the 100th anniversary.

BMW M 1000 XR

We all know that the average age of motorcyclists is rising and the sports bike riders of yesteryear can no longer fold themselves onto an extreme superbike any more. But does that mean that their hunger for extreme performance is dimmed?

Image source: BMW

Apparently not, according to BMW and the evidence comes in the form of the M 1000 XR. The S 1000 XR had a de-tuned version of the inline four-cylinder engine from the S 1000 RR in a sports touring chassis and riding position and the M 1000 XR is no different in this respect, although 200 horsepower on tap and a top speed of 174mph isn’t much of a de-tune! The M brakes are fitted, as are the M winglets.

BMW F 900 GS/Adventure

BMW has been busy! The fourth bike on this list from Germany is BMW’s latest entry into the increasingly important middleweight adventure bike category, which is dominated by Triumph and KTM at the moment, with the Tiger 900 and 890 Adventure respectively.

Image source: BMW

The F 900 GS replaces the F 850 GS, and the 895cc, eight-valve parallel twin engine pushes out 103 horsepower with impressive smoothness thanks to the twin balancer shafts. 30 pounds has been shaved off the overall weight and the overall stance is slightly more off-road-inspired. The Adventure model replaces the 14.5-litre tank with a 23-litre item. Electronics have all been upgraded and Dynamic electronic suspension is an option, as is much else but you will pay heavily for all of it.

KTM 1390 Super Duke R

Just when you thought the top-of-the-range Super Duke couldn’t get more powerful, faster or more technological, KTM raises its game and announces the 1390 Super Duke R to replace the 1290 Super Duke R.

Image source: KTM

Since 2005, the Super Duke family has dominated the naked sports bike class and the company’s involvement in MotoGP since 2017 has enabled the company to develop both chassis, engine and electronic technology that has only benefitted its road bikes. The new 1390 Super Duke gets all-new bodywork, a lower profile, more compact packaging, downforce-inducing winglets, the latest WP semi-active suspension and a further dose of raw power in what is an evolution of the model, rather than a revolution.

Image source: KTM

It might have been developed to offset the increasingly stringent emissions rules in force in Europe which sap power, but KTM is also naturally keen to remain relevant in the face of super-powerful naked sports bikes from BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki, all with over 200 horsepower. 188 horsepower is nothing to be sniffed at, however, and we’d like to bet that you’ll be seeing plenty of them on the roads throughout 2024.

Yamaha XSR900 GP

Not a new model per se, but an interesting direction for Yamaha, that follows the philosophy of merely dipping toes into the retro or ‘modern classic’ pool without going the whole hog and re-introducing a new version of an older model.

Image source: Yamaha

The XSR900 is familiar enough and it was one of the author’s favourite bikes from 2023. The new GP model adds to the retro vibe not only with the addition of a fairing but also one of the best paint jobs in modern motorcycling. It harks back, of course, to the 1980s and the likes of Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson on their Marlboro Yamahas, on which they won the 1990, 1991 and 1992 500cc Grand Prix titles. Under the skin, the XSR900 is brilliant and the new fairing and colour scheme brings the package as a whole as near to perfection as you might care to get.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R/ZX-4RR

Another model that we’re not sure whether it will make it to these shores but we have to remain hopeful. Those of a certain age will recall the heady days of ‘grey import’ Japanese four-cylinder, 400cc sports bikes, with screaming redlines and miniature superbike looks and ability.

Image source: Kawasaki

Asian markets get the jewel-like ZX-25, with a 250cc inline four-cylinder engine but we’ll not be short-changed with the 399cc ZX-4R and RR models, with a frankly incredible 80 horsepower on tap. The suspension is adjustable and the electronics include riding modes, traction control, ABS and a bi-directional quick-shifter. In the right hands, it sure to be a giant-killer on the road or track and it’s going to sound incredible. Start hassling Kawasaki SA today!

Ducati Superquadro Mono

It’s easy to forget that Ducati not only started its long history with single-cylinder engines but also produced the Supermono 550 in the 1990s as a race homologation model, which is now rare and very expensive.

Image source: Ducati

Since then, every Ducati has been either V-Twin or V4 but all that will change in 2024 with the arrival of the single-cylinder, 659cc Superquadro engine, claimed to be the highest-revving and most powerful road-going single-cylinder engine ever produced, developing 76.4 horsepower in road trim and 83.4 horsepower in track-ready form, with a rev limit of 10,250rpm courtesy of a desmodromic valve cylinder head. Now we know its first installation will be in the Hypermotard 698 Mono model and that is something that has to get the pulse racing of any motorcycle petrolhead, no matter their brand loyalty.

Image source: Ducati

So that’s all the new bikes that we are looking forward to riding in 2024, hopefully, most of them will reach our shores here in South Africa.

Until then, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and we hope you all ride safely into the New Year.

All the best, from the ZA Bikers Team.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....
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