The year 2023 was filled with a number of interesting and intriguing bikes that piqued my interest a lot. There were a ton of tempting motorcycles unveiled this year that are all slated for 2024. In a perfect world, I would be able to afford all five of these models, but alas, money does not grow on trees and I only have so much garage space.
Still, this year was filled with bikes that not only looked good but I’d actually consider owning in the future. For now, I’m fine with my Honda and KTM, but we all know that’s a lie. If you asked me what bike I’d actually consider getting or eagerly falling in line for a test ride, these would be it. Some of these models were covered in my last “five bikes” list covering the stuff at EICMA, but now let’s look at the models that caught my eye in 2023.
I used to be a 390 Duke owner before I got my CB650R and my KTM 790 Duke. The 390 was just such a fun little platform to play with that I kept it way longer than I should have. The biggest little Duke in the lineup spoiled me in terms of how sorted the suspension was paired with the characterful engine and upright ergonomics and now that KTM gave it a total overhaul top to bottom, I’ll definitely be falling in line for a test ride.
The volks at Austria bored its thumper up to 398ccs, the frame, suspension, and braking bits (among a host of other things) were lightened up, and the fairings were revised to give it a totally new look. I like the look of the headlight as well, way more than the array on the new 990 and 1390 Dukes. Again, I have to apologize to KTM, but I was a big fan of how the 1290, 890, and 790 Dukes looked, and the new biggies in the lineup haven’t grown on me yet. However, the 390 Duke has. Sign me up for a test ride, no promises about buying it yet though! I’m really on the fence on this one but it will be an interesting nostalgic trip for me if I do end up getting a 2024 390 Duke.
Now, while the 390 Duke will be a more nostalgic purchase on my end, I think that the CFMoto 450MT would actually be a more “reasonable” addition to my garage. Again, I have two naked bikes, and I really “need” an adventure bike to add a dose of different to my collection. I’m not really into big and heavy ADVs, nor do I have the unlimited budget to get set up for the life of adventure riding.
With all that being said, CFMoto dropped the bomb on me this year because the 450MT is pretty much exactly what I want from an adventure bike: A lightweight adventure tourer with a torquey engine and an affordable price tag. I’ve already experienced the engine on the CFMoto 450NK and I think it’ll be perfect for a small adventure bike. I can’t wait until CFMoto announces local availability for this model. It will definitely be on my wishlist and perhaps the only bike that I will be able to afford next year if I do decide to make the purchase. However, I feel that the bike will be a bit slow on the highway especially if I’m lumped together with bigger and more powerful bikes during a tour. Still, the engine should be just enough for the road but really good on the dirt paired with its lightweight frame. While it won’t fly on the highway, it’ll be a fun and capable machine to trail.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Yamaha XSR GP is going to be one of the “it” bikes next year. The prospect of a triple-cylinder engine wrapped in retro fairings appeals to me and it is something different for my garage. I think that it would also make a nice addition because with it I will have a twin, a triple, and a four to choose from. Thinking about it hard, however, I don’t think this bike will expand my horizons in terms of the type of rides that I can do.
I’m still leaning more toward getting a small adventure bike next year, but man is the XSR900 GP a looker with a bit of a bite. It’s just that it overlaps a lot with my other bikes. I think that I’d need a lot of convincing to buy this model, either that or a deal that I cannot refuse.
For the first time ever, the GS appeals to me. Now, I don’t think that the R 1250 GS is horrible, but I do feel that its styling looked really dated. I’m in the same court as Enrico based on his list. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments about the R 1250 GS.
This time around, I really like what BMW did to its top-shelf offering. The R 1300 GS has a more athletic look about it, and it looks way better than the R 1250 GS in my opinion. I’m excited to try this bike out. I feel that BMW’s decision to sharpen up the lines on the bike was a good one and something that I feel would look more at home on the trail compared to the outgoing GS. I know I cannot afford a GS. Ask me again in like 10 years, but if I won the lottery tomorrow, this would be one bike that I’d love to buy and try out in the long term.
A number of Ducatisti have asked me about this bike and what I thought of it. Some were extremely elated about its announcement while others were kind of annoyed. The Pikes Peak Multistrada made the rounds already, and the wait list is a bit on the long side of things, at least where I am from. Ducati Philippines was able to deliver on a number of Pikes Peak units and the owners were quite happy until the V4 RS was announced at EICMA 2023.
Basically, the guys who were still waiting on a Pikes Peak were given the option to opt for the RS instead, while some of the guys who already had their Pikes Peak Multis saw the RS and thought that maybe they should have gotten that instead. The Multistrada V4 RS is said to be a comfy Panigale V4 and given that a lot of the Ducati riders in my locale want the best from Borgo, this could be something special to test if it’s ever available for a demo ride. The thing is, however, I cannot afford this bike. Unless Ducati accepts kidneys as payment, the best I can do is get a test ride and dream.