Let’s go…see the latest new releases at Motorcycle Live!
The depth, breadth, quality and sheer diversity of choice available in 2024 eclipses the sum total of the new metal we’ve seen throughout the difficult ‘Covid years’ in a single barrage of temptation. It’s so good that this year’s ‘Top 10’ by MCN Editor, Richard Newland, had to become a Dirty Dozen – and could effortlessly be double that. And we know there’s more to come that haven’t yet been allowed to see the light of day.
In no particular order, here are Richard’s top picks…
Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP
It was a close-run contest between the return of the CBR600RR and the new Fireblade for inclusion in the hot list, but the Blade just pipped the supersport screamer to the post. Sharper than ever, the new Blade may not be kicking out any more power or torque, but it’s dripping in new tech and racing promise, and should deliver what Tadao Baba set out to achieve with the very first Blade in 1992: the perfect balance of power and mass for optimum performance.
Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono
The return of a factory built ‘Supermono’ is something Ducatisti have been begging to have for more than a quarter of a century. Could that become a reality now that the firm have invested massively in developing a stunning ‘mono’ engine to power their cheeky new Hypermotard 698 Mono? Even if it doesn’t happen, the new 698 is a watershed moment for Ducati. An impressively spec’d and designed unit that has scope to power a whole range of different models, while its debut Hyper platform is guaranteed to entertain.
Suzuki’s new GX – while based around the existing GSX-S1000 platform – is definitely one of 2024’s most interesting new models. The chassis and engine package has always been fantastic, but its versatility was constrained by its naked form, and even the old F models didn’t offer much in the way of touring scope. But the new GX looks like it’s got everything needed to be a truly versatile ‘tall-roader’ – packing rider protection, a good level of tech, 150bhp and a price tag that’ll irk much of the established competition.
Yamaha reinvented the middleweight naked a decade ago when their MT-09 triple stormed into the market and blew the competition away with its firebrand blend of performance and price. Packing the seminal CP3 motor, which has spawned a whole range of great bikes since, it has long been the sector benchmark. And 2024 gives the fresh-faced MT its most significant update to date. Of course, there’s also a hotter SP model also landing for 2024, but the purity, purpose and price of the stocker has always made it a wildly attractive option.
Kawasaki Ninja 7 HEV
Kawasaki have stolen the march on every other major manufacturer by being the first to bring a genuine hybrid to the bike market. In fact, they’ve brought a couple, but it’s the Ninja 7 that we’re picking as the hotter prospect as the addition of a fairing boosts its versatility over its naked stablemate. It may not boast the outright performance of a pure petrol rival, but offers a level of clever tech and alternative propulsion that no other rival can boast – a tangible USP for riders who commute in and out of cities.
Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
The Himalayan has been a phenomenal success for Royal Enfield, sneaking in under the rafts of big-capacity high-value adventure bikes to deliver riders a level of simplicity and affordability that has been unrivalled. And now there’s an even stronger Himmy in the mix – rocking a new liquid-cooled 452cc DOHC engine that takes the performance on offer from just 24bhp up to 39.5bhp. This means more available drive for covering big miles, and more effortless load-lugging capability for those serious adventures. It’s still a Himalayan – but better.
MV Agusta LXP Orioli
We all got a bit hot and flustered when MV Agusta revealed first images of their new 9.5 platform adventure bike which blends modern performance sensibilities with the visual emotion of the Cagiva Elefant Lucky Explorers of the early 1990s. The first wave of bikes will be a more exclusive LXP Orioli special, limited to just 500 units globally. Named after four-time Dakar winner Edi Orioli, the new 931cc three-cylinder machine is inspired by the Elefant he rode to victory in the 1990 Dakar.
Few bikes are more important as a barometer of the market than BMW’s flagship GS, so big changes come with big possibilities – and big risk. 2024’s new R1300GS is a significant change in terms of spec, performance, design and construction. More power than ever before, more refinement, a tighter physical package, and saturated with clever tech – but the net result feels more like evolution than revolution. That’s a clever trick that will keep current GS aficionados happy, while appealing to new buyers who rejected the old styling.
KTM 990 Duke
The latest machine to jump into the ‘big middleweights’ class is the evocatively named 990 Duke, which immediately spikes memories of the original 990 Super Duke that evolved the naked gene pool back in the mid Noughties. Now a parallel twin, the new Duke is stomping out just over 121bhp from its 947cc mill, more than enough to entertain and lead you into temptation. Packing all the trademark KTM sharp angles and skeletal aggression – it should be hilarious fun on twisty roads and tracks alike.
If big cylinders poking out horizontally doesn’t sit well with you, then BMW’s bonkers new M1000XR might be the global horizon-shrinker you’re looking for. Building on the excellent S1000XR (also updated for 2024), the new M model brings a level of aggression to the tall-roader segment that will keep you buzzing however long the road is. There’s 198bhp on tap, downforce-assisting wings, a plethora of electronic assists, and even an M Competition Pack with carbon wheels as the headline upgrade. See you in Nice for lunch…
Triumph Tiger 900
The endless pursuit for more of everything means that Triumph’s Tiger 900 gets a nice little boost for 2024, while the overly complex family also gets cut back to give riders a clearer choice of models. Now claimed to deliver 106.5bhp of peak power to your right hand (that’s about 13% more oomph), the new Tiger should be even more capable as a mile muncher, while also boosting its load-lugging capability with less impact on the ride. There’s a new 7in dash to drive all the systems through, too.
Zero DSR/X Black Forest
All-electric brand Zero have given a whole host of models some pretty handy updates this year, but it’s their tasty sounding Black Forest DSR/X that we’re most keen to grab. Now sporting rim-laced spoked wheels that allow tubeless tyre options, as well as more protection for bike and rider when the going gets tough (bash plate, frame guards, bigger screen) and more grippy footpegs to keep your feet where you need them, it also gets three-piece aluminium luggage and a classy blacker-than-black paintjob.