2023 rolls in under the restrictive effects of supply chain issue and rising inflation. Not a great environment for enthusiasts to say the least.
Encouragingly several motorcycle companies have been working diligently to bring some exciting new products to market while others seem to be waiting for an economic upturn to show their new bikes to the world and potential buyers.
So let’s get down to basics and discuss five(-ish) of the more interesting motorcycles of 2023.
- Ducati Diavel V4 Ducati long claimed that the Diavel was not a cruiser. Too sporty was the foundation for that argument as though calling the bike a cruiser disparaged on its handling abilities. Obviously Ducati was indulging in a little posing with that train of thought as there are more than a few cruisers that handled just fine thank you very much. Ducati has backed off those claims and have half-heartedly indicated that perhaps the Diavel is a cruiser after all, at least sort of. But to make matters a little more confusing they seem to have taken the bodywork from one of their Panigale supersports and morphed into the cladding for a cruiser. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the saddle. But to be objective, this is probably the best looking Diavel yet especially that layout of the new exhaust which brings us to what makes the Diavel so special for 2023 – the V4 has returned to the cruiser fold. Not since the sadly departed and keenly missed – although perhaps not hot selling – Yamaha VMax exited parking lot left just a couple of seasons ago has a V4 graced the segment. The Ducati Diavel V4 is powered by the Granturismo mill that in this iteration produced 170hp.
- Suzuki V-Strom 800 They did what to what? That is the question a dusty herd of adventure touring riders are going to ask when they learn the venerable, and let’s face it, iconic VStrom 650 has become the VStrom 800. Disguised in that change in number is a change in engine configuration as the the new bike is now powered by a parallel twin rather than a v-twin. Suzuki claims the new 800 storm is a far more robust machine that the bikes that proceeded it. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. What made the VStrom 650 so successful was a multipurpose and yet comfortable touring character capable of some light to moderate off pavement duty but exceptional inroad manners. If the new VStrom 800 compromises that ability to extend the bike’s capability of tackling more severe off pavement terrain, well that will make some riders happy but we have to believe there will be as many that won’t be as pleased. Here’s the interesting thing, Suzuki still has a 2023 VStrom 650 list for sale in Canada if the 800 isn’t to your tastes.
- Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello Yes it has been lingering in the periphery as a “coming soon” model but it is now for sale in Canada – if you can find a Moto Guzzi dealer somewhere near you. It is unfortunate if you can not as the the V100 Mandello looks to bring the historic brand well and truly into the modern sphere by adding liquid cooling to the mix. There is no doubt that the Moto Guzzi could use an innovative shot in the arm as the company’s offerings have plummeted in recent year to a smattering of V7 retro bikes and the desirable but somehow forgotten V85TT. The V100 Mandello is a conservative looking machine but in that conservative styling it has elegant simpleness – rather than say the old Griso that required an little extra look no matter how many times you saw it just to figure out what was going on there. The V100 Mandello is going to begat other bikes and the most likely may be a new version of the Stelvio as the shadowy from of an ADV bike is seen clearly in the V100’s styling. What we would like to see is a new interpretation of the best looking Moto Guzzi of the last 25 years, the V11 Sport
- All Kinds of Honda Stuff Okay this one consists of more than just one bike hence the “five-ish”. Honda has been on a bike building spree over that last 18 months but – and it is a big one – they are not announcing any of those bikes as coming to Canada but seeing how there are quite number of 2023 model holes it is possible one or two might turn up. Let’s go through the list of new bikes: the NT1100 is a sleek sport touring macing, the Hawk11 is a retro cafe racer, the Hornet 750 is a run of the mill sporty middleweight, the TransAlp is a middleweight adventure machine, the CL500 is a retro bobber. Phew, that’s quite a list. But Canada did get the Rebel 1100T which is a …………………sorry, dozed off. Right, let’s try that again. The Rebel 1100T is a Rebel with a small fairing and saddlebags bolted on. It comes with the DCT transmi………………………….. To round out our five (ish) interesting bikes we will hope for the TransAlp and the Hawk11 and for good measure, the CL500 if it is priced aggressively.
When it comes to adding more bikes to the list, we have to wonder if Harley-Davidson has something interesting in the mix but they don’t announce their 2023 line-up until mid January.