EICMA, the world’s biggest motorcycle show, is still a few weeks away (it runs November 5-10 this year in Milan), but with the Tokyo Motor Show starting next week, we’re about to see many new-for-2020 models released.
Not long ago, this would have been unthinkable; the industry released its biggest products at either the Intermot show in Germany (which doesn’t run this year) or EICMA, with some Japanese bikes unveiled at Tokyo. But it’s all changing, thanks to the Internet. Tired of having their new models leaked ahead of the big shows, or upstaged by earlier releases by the competition, some manufacturers are now looking at running their own launch parties outside of the usual show structure, with online streaming for fans around the world.
This year, Ducati is going to launch its 2020 lineup on October 23, well before the EICMA show, and coincidentally (not!) on the same day as the Tokyo show kick-off. Honda is also expected to reveal most of its 2020 lineup next week, with Kawasaki expected to make a similar move.
With that in mind, here (in no particular order) are the motorcycles we expect to see unveiled during the 2019 show season, even if they aren’t all necessarily unveiled at a show.
The updated Africa Twin has already been unveiled. So what else can Honda bring out? The Rebel 500 will probably get a minor update, and maybe the 300, depending on what those changes are. A CRF450 Rally concept bike would make sense, and we’ve seen hints about that, but don’t expect a production-ready machine.
However, the biggest news we’d expect is a new CBR1000RR superbike. There’s been plenty of muttering about a new Honda litrebike this fall, especially since Honda appears to be gearing up its World Superbike team for a big 2020 season — hardly something you’d expect for the current model, as it’s mostly new electronic riding aids on a recycled engine. And since World Superbike runs on production-ish models, the logical conclusion is that we will see something exciting for 2020.
The rumours of a new Honda entry-level sportbike, maybe an updated CBR250RR, have also re-surfaced. Could it be true? Hard to say, but it’s not unthinkable that Honda might finally replace its weak-sauce CBR300 with a more competitive machine in western markets.
Aside from that, we’ll also see the CT125 concept again, and no doubt there’ll be some electric scooters.
No doubt Yamaha will announce some updates to its current models (improved electronics, reduced emissions, etc.), but we haven’t seen any real talk about new-for-2020 platforms. If we do see something new, expect it to be based on recycled tech from the current MT-03, MT-07 or MT-09 lines.
Suzuki is expected to release an updated V-Strom 1000 for 2020, called the DR Big. Otherwise, you can mostly likely expect a heaping plate full of Bold New Graphics; most of the Suzuki line has already been announced for 2020 in the US, and that’s all they got.
There have been rumours of a new, turbocharged Hayabusa for months now, but they seem to be as hopeless as the rumours about the Recursion turbocharged bike, and the six-cylinder musclebike before that. Despite Suzuki’s investment into its new factory, the company seems to have little interest in developing its motorcycle lineup. If we do see anything else, it’ll likely be a re-packaged SV650, maybe a Katana 650?
Kawasaki should have a monster show season, starting with the ZH2 naked bike, updated Ninja 650 and updated Ninja 1000. Kawasaki is also expected to confirm its purchase of Bimota. There will no doubt be some announcement about improved emissions or electronics packages, and we’d expect some big announcement about future technological advancements (maybe the four-wheeled machine Kawi keeps teasing, or its motorcycle AI system). Might we also see the Versys 400 finally debut? It’d make sense, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Given today’s market realities, a W800 Bobber would be just as likely; the word is that Kawasaki is indeed intending to bring out a new retro at EICMA.
KTM is expected to make several big announcements for 2020. First off, there are strong reports KTM is about to introduce a full line of entry-level twin-cylinder motorcycles in the 490 cc range. These bikes may replace the current 390 lineup.
KTM is also expected to announce an 890 lineup, probably not replacing the current 790 models, but sold as the up-specced “R” versions, at least an 890 Duke R and possibly an 890 Duke GT (there have been spy shots hinting at this). There’s a 790 supermoto in the works as well, we understand.
We do know we’ll see a new 1290 Super Duke R, as KTM already showed it to us in the teaser video above.
Ducati’s releasing a 1260 Multistrada GT, presumably a more sport touring-oriented version of the ‘Strada. The biggest confirmed news is the new Streetfighter V4, with its 200 hp engine. We haven’t heard anything about the Scrambler line getting updates, but given how key that is to Ducati’s success, it would be surprising to see no updated Scramblers for 2020.
And then there’s the Panigale 959. There have been rumours of an updated 959 for a couple of years now, but if Ducati’s got anything planned, it’s been a well-kept secret. Still, changing emissions rules will require an update sooner or later. Could this be the year?
Don’t expect an all-new platform from BMW. Instead, expect it to spread the inline four Shiftcam engine and the F850 parallel twin to new models. We’re expecting a new S1000 XR and S1000 R this year, both featuring modified versions of last year’s S1000 RR engine.
As well, we’ve seen alleged patent drawings of a new F850 R naked bike, and BMW has been teasing its 9CENTO concept bike for months now, sort of a combination of the F800 GT concept with the S1000 XR. It’d be surprising if we didn’t see the 9cento in the next few weeks, powered by the F850 engine.
Finally, the R18 retro-cruiser is almost certainly going to make its debut next month (BMW’s French arm is already taking deposits on the machine).
Triumph has already shown off its new Street Triple RS and a couple of TFC factory customs, and Costa will be riding the new Rocket III next month. Whatever else could it be planning?
The T120 models haven’t been updated for a couple of years, so it might be time to expect them to see revisions. The Tiger adventure bikes were last updated in 2017, and Triumph usually revises them every two years, so they might be upgraded for 2020 as well.
Given the popularity of Guzzi’s V85 TT adventure bike, we’d be shocked if there weren’t new V85 models this year, likely a retro standard, but possibly a cruiser or tourer. Hipster bikes are what’s selling, though, so that’s what’s most likely.
When the RS660 active-aero concept started making the rounds last year, the rumour was it was supposed to debut this fall. We’ll see! Aprilia almost always releases some super-duper “factory” superbike or naked bike, with the latest electronics package and highly tuned engine.
Hard to say what Husqvarna might be plotting, as the 701 and 401 platforms are already getting played out. Maybe Husky will get the 890 platform, not KTM? It would actually make sense, sort of.
Polaris tends to use the show circuit to promote its products more heavily than Harley-Davidson. The Challenger touring bike may appear at EICMA, although Indian may want to wait until Daytona to unwrap its latest machine. Other than that, we wouldn’t expect much — maybe a prototype streetfighter or EV, but nothing production-ready.
Normally, Harley-Davidson doesn’t do much during the fall show circuit. But normally, Harley-Davidson isn’t in the middle of drastically revising its lineup to include naked bikes and adventure bikes, and 100 new models within 10 years. Given that overseas sales growth is a huge part of the MoCo’s future hopes, Harley-Davidson will likely be pushing its new Streetfighter and Pan America models at EICMA, as well as its smaller e-bikes.