It might be hard to believe with the current polar vortex holding us all in its icy grip but another riding season is just around the corner. Dreaming of the bikes I’d love to ride in 2021 is the thread of hope leading me out of this winter, and out of this lockdown. Led by brands like Ducati and Indian Motorcycles, here’s a selection of the machinery keeping me sane as we move towards longer days.
Related: BMW F900 XR motorcycle review: Sleek, smooth and satisfying for a fall-time country-road ride
ARCH Motorcycle KRGT-1
Keanu Reeves has contributed some of the most iconic characters in movie history: Ted “Theodore” Logan, Johnny Utah, Neo, Duke Kaboom, John Wick (and a terrifying turn as Donnie Barksdale in the Billy Bob Thornton-penned ‘The Gift’ which I encourage you to check out).
None of these characters come close, however, to matching the extraordinary style and uniqueness of the Arch KRGT-1.
Arch Motorcycles is a partnership between Keanu Reeves and custom bike designer Gard Hollinger. These two creative dudes have dreamt up the pinnacle of luxury custom motorcycles. The Arch KRGT-1 is a performance cruiser customized for every rider. Imagine being measured for a stunning new bespoke suit made to fit you perfectly, except it’s a motorcycle.
Each bike features 150 pounds of aerospace-grade aluminum components, including the KRGT-1’s distinctive fuel tank, a two-piece unit carved out of aluminum billet (that’s a solid piece of aluminum!). The tank incorporates the first of many proprietary designs to the Arch, a downdraft breathing system which bisects the fuel tank and “delivers high torque on demand with enhanced performance.”
Image: ARCH Motorcycle
Add to that a 124ci S&S V-Twin engine, a bevy of partnerships with leading parts manufacturers (including Öhlins, CNC, K&N, ISR, Bosch and Michelin), and a blended steel/aluminum chassis, and you have an unparalleled level of customization.
I’ll never be able to afford one but I’d love to spend an afternoon cutting corners with Keanu.
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BMW R18 First Edition
Harley Davidson has dominated the cruiser market in North America for years, but times are changing. BMW is determined to become a real player on the market and its opening the game in 2021 with the R18 First Edition, a stallion of steel that draws upon classic BMW aesthetic while capitalizing on the latest luxury technologies.
Click on image to enlarge and view gallery; Images: BMW
Steed of steel
Customization seems to be the name of the game in the cruiser market these days, and the R18 base model keeps things simple and stripped down in order for you to put together a bike that suits your personal tastes. Drawing from BMW’s impressive list of options, riders can fine-tune the look and feel of the bike’s design, ergonomics, and storage.
And if none of that convinces you to check out this steed of steel from one of motorcycles most iconic brands, take delight in the naming of the bike’s two main ride modes: Rock and Roll.
“It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It).”
Triumph Trident 660
In the theatre world, “triple threat” refers to a performer who can do it all: act, sing and dance. And the British clearly know something about entertaining (after all, they did give us William Shakespeare). Hello Triumph Trident 660, the triple threat of entry-level sport-standard riding.
Triumph’s Triple engine has been used in most of its flagship bikes since 1989. The Trident boasts a 6-speed, liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, 3-cylinder inline engine, delivering a smooth, linear range of power across a wide RPM range. Simply put, the Trident has plenty of get up and go.
Click on image to enlarge and view gallery; Images: Triumph
And hey, if you don’t want to ride a bike made by the same company that equips James Bond, then we can’t be friends.
Indian Scout Bobber
I’ve never been a huge fan of chrome. When in doubt, black it out, I say. Thank goodness bike companies like Indian agree with me.
It’s no surprise that three of the bikes on my list this year are cruisers. I love the look and feel of a long, low bike (and not just because I’m short). And if a cruiser can deliver nimble handling and adrenalin-fueling power, well, I’m all in.
Image: Indian Motorcycle
Enter the Indian Scout Bobber, a gorgeously blacked-out cruiser with distinctive bobber styling that offers excellent control and a generous dose of muscle to make it one of the most exciting mid-level cruisers on the market.
Indian Motorcycles (née Hendee Manufacturing Company) is North America’s oldest motorcycle company; it all but fell out of the market between 1953 and 2010. Thankfully, Polaris scooped up the brand in 2011 and they’ve been roaring back into the spotlight ever since.
Zero compromise on luxury touches
Image: Indian Motorcycle
First released way back in 1920, the Scout was billed as a powerful, nimble offering with determined style. The Scout Bobber carries on the tradition while delivering some beefy bobber styling. It’s distinctive off-road tires, smoothly downward-slopping tank, side-hung mirrors and plate deliver a classic bobber look without compromising on luxury finishes: all leather seat, liquid-cooled engine and hidden USB port for charging your mobiles.
The Indian Scout Bobber is the kind of bike representing equal measures of refinement and ass-kickery.
Image: Indian Motorcycle
Ducati is billing the latest update of their ubiquitous Monster series as ‘just fun’. Do I really need to say anything else? I don’t but I will…
For years, the Ducati Monster was defined by its iconic trellis frame. Though I did shed a small tear to see it absent from this 2021 redesign, it has been replaced by an aluminum chassis, shedding 40lbs and delivering a stripped-down, powerful profile that looks persistently ready to pounce.
Click on image to enlarge and view gallery; Images: Ducati
By trimming the fat and pairing the bike with a 937cc Testastretta twin cylinder L-frame engine, Ducati claims a responsive 9.5 Nm of toque at 6,500 rpm and overall 111 hp at 9,250 rpm. It’s a sport bike couched in a road bike’s body.
Despite the tall-ish 32.3” seat height (remember, I’m short), Ducati claims that the bike’s narrow profile makes it easier to put your feet on the ground at a stand-still. We shall see, Ducati. We shall see.
If I’m not going to ride a cruiser then give me a bike that’s light, quick, nimble and fast. The Ducati Monster appears ready to fulfill on all counts.