Bimota returns with the TESI H2 powered by Kawasaki’s supercharged H2 engine
First off, let’s look at Italian marque Bimota. Its Rimini factory that produced custom versions of a number of machines shuttered its doors a couple of years back, and while there was some conjecture as to where the brand would land, that mystery has since been more-or-less solved. Kawasaki bought up 49.9-percent of the company and let it tinker with its fire-breathing, 227-horsepower Ninja H2. The result is the Bimota Tesi H2.
While the original is an absolute beast, the Tesi version takes it to another level with carbon-fiber body components and hub-center steering that does away with the front forks to deliver a narrower front end along with a space-age panache. It looks like there may be some sort of electronic damping equipment evidenced by the visible wiring, but of course, the real advantage of hub-steer arrangements is the fact that steering and suspension stresses are kept separate so you can trail-brake to your heart’s content without affecting the suspension’s ability to respond to irregularities in the road for some contact patch insurance.
I also think it’s cool how the factory hid the binders underneath the front fender stanchions in a move that keeps the front end from looking too busy, but perhaps that was done more from necessity than aesthetics. Naturally, the supercharged powerplant is a direct carryover though the compressor’s intake tract is in tough and lightweight, unfinished carbon fiber. It will be interesting to see if this bike makes it across the pond, but as it stands it’s scheduled for a summer release in the British market for £43,000, and the European market for €50,000.
Energica brings us closer to electric viability with the long-range Eva Ribelle
The EV sector gets some love as well with a new, long-range Energica streetfighter that is bound to put some pressure on Zero and H-D’s LiveWire. I’m talking about the Eva Ribelle bringing the usual amount of sexy to the table with a somewhat-naked look that leaves much of the Trellis frame visible. One big bonus with Energica bikes is if you ignore the drivetrain areas of the bike, it would look right at home beside any of a number of smoker bikes, and the Ribelle is no exception.
While aesthetics are definitely important, especially in a genre that is clawing for mainstream acceptance, it’s the performance and range that is keeping EV bikes down at the moment. Energica addresses those concerns with a powerful, 145 horsepower motor that also generates 158 pound-feet of torque. As an electric, all that torque is available as soon as you roll the right grip, but Energica has always had strong motors. The real news here is in the power-storage hardware that delivers in the neighborhood of 250 miles in the city and 145 miles in combined mileage. Not only is that plenty far enough for some of the most demanding commutes, but if you belly up to a Fast Charge facility, you can slam up to 80-percent of a full charge into the battery in an astoundingly short 40 minutes. Yeah, that’s right, you can charge the thing up over a casual lunch. In further delightfulness, the 21.5 kW/h powerpack will be available throughout the 2020 lineup as well, which will be a marked improvement across the board.
Husqvarna shows off its first-ever tour bike and rolls out premium updates for its streetbikes.
Swedish giant Husqvarna rolls into 2020 with some premium updates for its streetwise brand ambassadors, the Vitpilen 701 and Svartpilen 701. Laced wheels and less-boring paint choices dress up both lines with CNC-milled goodies to dress them up even more.
These are relatively new machines, so it comes as no surprise that they roll without any kind of major mechanical changes or engine upgrades, but that’s okay, ’cause Husqvarna has another trick up its sleeve. I’m talking ’bout the Norden 901 Concept Adventure Bike. A proper, snub-nose ADV bike, it looks somewhat like the Honda Africa Twin complete with a rally-style smoked flyscreen and handguards to complete the pilot’s protection. It sports guards aloft and alow to protect the bike in a drop.
Power comes from elsewhere under the Husqvarna umbrella with a bored-out, twin-banger KTN LC8 plant tucked away under the paneling. Best of all, this bike is less hefty and easier to manage than much of its competition, and that will definitely appeal to younger/smaller riders as well as folks who don’t necessarily want every ride to turn into a wrestling match.
Harley-Davidson turns up the heat with its new streetfighter and adventure bike.
Staying on the ADV bike tip, we’ve got another globetrotter from another unlikely source, the Pan America from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Still a working prototype, the Pan America is slated for a 2021 release. It combines snub-nosed, desert-rally looks with the new, 1,250 cc Revolution Max powerplant that brings liquid-cooled performance to the table with a claimed 145 horsepower and something north of 90 pound-feet of torque on tap for your off-road adventures. To be fair, Harleys have been used off-road since the first intrepid soul mounted a set of knobbies on a Sportster and struck out over hill and dale a la scrambler style.
This next bike is hard-pressed to find a historical match, unless you count the now-defunct Buell range of course. I’m talking about the Harley-Davidson Bronx that, as its name suggests, is a rather gritty naked streetfighter that would look more at home between a Kawasaki Z model and one of Suzuki’s SV units than anything the MoCo has produced before.
Power for the Bronx comes from the smaller version of the 60-degree Revolution Max V-twin forecast to churn out something in the order of 115 ponies and 70 pounds o’ grunt. The Bronx is part of the overall effort to appeal to a younger buyer base as the Boomer influence continues to wane, and personally, I expect this bike to perform better in the market than its much-maligned Street range, though like so many other things, it’s a’gonna (sic) come down to price.
That’s it for now folks, but stay tuned for full reviews as the models become available, and be watching for more jewels yet to come out of Milan this year.
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