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Thoughts from the 2016 Progressive International Motorcycle Show in New York City

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BMW R nineT Racer. Photos by Kurt Ernst, unless otherwise noted.

Media Day at the Javits Center overfilled our plates last Friday with new bike announcements from manufacturers from here in the US and abroad. There was a lot to digest and we’re still digging through some of it, but here are a few quick observations on what caught our eye after several hours of press announcements and new model unveilings:

Coming soon to an auction house near you: 2017 Ducati 1299 Superleggera

Ducati 1299 Superleggera

After the success of the 1299 Panigale and the 1299 Panigale R, Ducati has again built the most powerful production bike in its history with the new 1299 Superleggera. The 1285cc overbore Superquadro engine produces 215 hp at 11,000 rpm, an additional 10 hp over the 1299 Panigale engine. The Superleggera-specific engine uses a new lighter weight flywheel and tungsten-balanced crankshaft with titanium rods, conserving 4 pounds in total weight. The carbon fiber monocoque frame and swing arm also save several pounds in overall weight as do the carbon fiber wheels. Premium Ohlins suspension front and rear dropped the total weight an additional four pounds, bringing the Superleggera in at a modest 369 pounds total dry weight. Don’t grab your checkbook and run right down to the dealership to pick up one of these though. Ducati is only building 500 and they are expected to sell all those units by the end of March. I have no doubt we will see several coming up within the next 18 months at some of the larger motorcycle auctions and commanding Superleggera prices too.

BMW aces café racer look with R nineT Racer

BMW R nineT Racer

I’m not a big BMW guy myself, but you have to like the retro look of BMW’s new R nineT Racer. The bike is a little less luxurious than the standard R nineT, and the Racer lacks the aluminum fuel tank, inverted forks and monobloc radial disc brakes of the original, but the conventional front end and four-piston caliper ABS-equipped brakes should still do an efficient job. The upswept exhaust and larger catalytic converter were designed with European emission standards in mind, however new fuel mapping lifts the Racer’s boxer twin to an output of 110 horsepower at 7,550 rpm. The chin fairing, rear sets and clip-on handlebars give the Racer a very sporty look and the rearward seat position adds to rider comfort. We like the simple white paint scheme with BMW motorsport stripes as well. Overall, we’d call it a really clean-looking, retro-styling, ton-up-reminiscing addition to the BMW nineT product line.

Gixxer glory for the new rider- Suzuki’s GSX250R

Suzuki GSX 250R

Photo courtesy Suzuki.

For the less-experienced rider who cannot afford, or is leery about, jumping on a 650, 750 or 1000cc Gixxer without a little seat time first, Suzuki has now built a bike for their wallets and skill level, the GSX-250R. With similar 248 cc twin cylinder displacement engine and horsepower ratings (24.7) and torque ratings (17.5 lb.-ft.) as the standard Suzuki GW250 Inazuma, which Suzuki sells in non-American markets, there is little to worry about the bike leaving you behind at a stop light. But, the higher handlebars and rear set pegs make for a comfortable ride, especially for bigger riders, and we feel the bike is a nice entry-level motorcycle for future GSX-1000R buyers. We’re sure Suzuki is thinking the same thing.