The speed and maneuverability of a motorcycle can't be beaten. Bikes take off quickly, weave easily through the worst traffic conditions, and make a serious statement. The power of the vibrating engine and the closeness to the road make every trip an almost religious experience. Especially when you're on some of the best bikes out there today. Retro styling is in, and it's a trend that turns a lot of great bikes into something that also pushes the nostalgia factor. Of course, modern rides are also hitting the road; some with serious upgrades that make them rideable for a daily commute. Whether you're interested in a throwback to big motors and growl or want a smooth and modern ride to handle downtown traffic, there's something hitting the streets in 2019.
Continue scrolling to keep reading
Click the button below to start article in quick view
Since Indian bikes started hitting the streets again in 2013, the brand has pretty much stuck with their traditional, easy ride bikes. At least, until the FTR 1200. This beast breaks the Indian mold and heads for a more sporty look and feel. The 120-hp is plenty for such a light bike, and the adjustable monoshock rear suspension makes for a smooth takeoff and ride. With a starting price of $13K, this addition is a definite contender as one of the best bikes of 2019.
It's a brand new design coming from BMW. The S1000RR is a seriously competitive superbike, with a tone of power and responsive throttle. The new engine delivers 205 hp and 84 lb-ft of torque. It's lighter and sleeker than previous models and promises a performance-driven ride that might make it one of the most anticipated test drives of the year. BMW makes great cars and great bikes, and the newly redesigned S1000RR looks to be no exception.
Ducati is a premium brand in the motorcycle world, and the Panigale V4 R is lined up to smoke the competition. This superbike is toeing up to the line of the World SBK championships, and manufacturers are hoping that the 221 hp from 90-degree V4 engine will be enough to do that. It can hit 234 hp with the optional racing exhaust system. Of course, at a nearly $40K price point, this is not one of the more affordable options on the dealership floor.
Harley Davidson has been an iconic name in American motorcycle manufacturing for more than 110 years, and the Sportster has been part of the lineup for more than half of that time. Hopping on a Sportster is an easy ride for new riders and a fun spin for experienced bikers. The Iron 1200 model offers an inexpensive way to get some serious power with a 1200cc twin engine. The retro styling for this model year makes it a throwback in all the right ways.
Not every motorcyclist wants a powerful ride and tons of speed. Motorcycles have become the commuter ride of choice for many new to the road, and these new buyers like the 300cc class, which is the bread and butter of the CB300R. What makes this Honda bike such a great addition to the class is the upright riding position that makes it comfortable for longer drives and taller riders. Plus, at a bare 300 lbs, this bike is swift and maneuverable while being great on gas.
It should come as no surprise that a company from India is making waves with their motorbikes. While Royal Enfield has been around for more than a century, the bikes never crossed the pond to popularity in the States. The new Continental GT may change all that. This twin-cylinder, 650cc bike starts at just under $6K, making it an affordable mid-range option that won't have a lot of competition at local riding hangouts. After all, while the brand is popular at home, not too many Americans have jumped on one of these retro-styled seats that came straight from the '70s.
While tall riders might have some trouble on smaller bikes, the Yamaha YZF-R3 is built for the shorter riders out there. The seat height is 30.7 inches, making it great for anyone with an average inseam. This small, sporty motorcycle comes with a seriously affordable price tag at just under $5,000 for a shiny, new, model fresh off the production floor. While the R3 has been the Yamaha answer for those who want a 300cc engine and a smaller profile, the R3 is just a little bigger without upping the price.
While Triumph has taken a long break from manufacturing the Speed Twin – it left production in the '60s – enthusiasts have long enjoyed tooling around on some of the older models. Now, the company once again is releasing these twin cylinder bikes with a heck of a lot of power. The new Speed Twin delivers 100 hp from a 1200cc motor, wrapped up in a lightweight frame. The whole bike weighs around 400 lbs, which makes it a responsive addition to the Triumph lineup, and a solid choice for mid-range shoppers with a starting price of $12,100.
The ZX-6R was a good bike in 2018, and it's an even better deal in 2019. While there are some changes to the bodywork for the 2019 model, the biggest difference is the price tag. What was a nearly $12K bike a year ago drops to just under $10K for the 2019 model year, all with the same mechanics, chassis and a 636cc four-cylinder engine. If the bike looked good last year, it has turned into a heck of a steal with the price reduction for anyone interested in a mid-range option.
It's sporty, lean, and easy to ride. The Suzuki SV650X is a solid choice for any new rider, and experienced cyclists won't mind the feel, either. What Suzuki is known for is a great suspension, and the SV650X delivers. Combine that with a 649-cc twin engine, and you've got a bike that flawlessly melds performance and price. It starts at $8,400, which is just a smidge more than the SV650 with ABS. The lower riding position and clip-on handlebars make it feel like a sportbike, even if you use it for a daily commute.
The Ninja H2 SX SE + is the sport-tourer added to the lineup, and it tackles curves and turns along with straight speed. The combination of incredible technology on this bike makes it one of the most comfortable rides at an almost superbike level of performance. It features a 43mm inverted Showa cartridge fork and a Showa BFRC-lite rear shock. Add in the Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension and your choice of riding modes, and you have a bike that is road ready. Oh, and did we mention the self-healing paint? Yeah. That's a thing.
No, it doesn't have two wheels, but the Niken GT is classified as a motorcycle. After all, while it does have that third wheel, the placement makes it almost a two-wheel with a little more control on the turns. The Niken GT takes the basic Niken and adds a taller windscreen, heated grips, a more comfortable seat and some other features designed to make longer rides a joy. The sport-touring class is pretty small at the moment, but with new models like the Niken GT hitting the road, it may expand faster than you'd think.
The Niken GT is a motorcycle with three wheels, but the Can-Am Ryker really is a trike. So, why is it on this list of motorcycles? Well, first off because many of the people riding trikes also ride bikes, and secondly, because any time a manufacturer shaves $10K off the base price it deserves an honorable mention. The Ryker is the first affordable trike coming from Can-Am with a starting price of $8,499.