Friday, December 01, 2006

Dismount the Carousel

Yet another calendar is on its way towards the garbage can as this seventh post-millenium year is slowly approaching its expiration date. For most people, a year's end is time to contemplate, or celebrate... for motorcycle nuts like me its time to overdose on all the new models and accessories that are coming out!

The bigger 'n better trend is always obvious, although in the cruiser category I think most manufacturers have signed a temporary truce due to the Vulcan 2000 and Rocket III pretty much trumping everything else! Yamaha has still fired a shot though with their Stratoliner/Roadliner duo; and although the "Neo-Streamline" styline is nice, it still doesn't up the ante in the cruiser displacement wars. Nope, one of the coolest things I can spot this year is in the sport-touring category.

After a 20+ year run and building a large following of dedicated fans, Kawi has finally decided to give the Connie an overhaul. But, man-o-man, was it ever worth the wait! Although initial details are still preliminary, what we do know is that the engine and tranny are based on the ZX-14 (ouch!), with an interesting shaft drive that should minimize or eliminate jacking. Add creature comforts like electrically adjustable windshield, big seat, and beautifully integrated luggage and you've got me salivating. I wonder if the big guys at Yamaha and BMW are sweating yet? It will all come down to how much Kawi wants for the new Concours. If they can bring it to market for about $1K less than the FJR, they've got a winner.

Speaking of affordable performance, Ducati's new 1098 (say 10-9-8, like a countdown) is not only an improvement over the 999 performance-wise, it's also a real thing of beauty. Oh, and did I mention that it retails for just under $15K? Yeah, baby! I'm thinking that this could be a real good seller for Ducati and just might leave a mark on the Big-4 Japanese brands.

BMW continues with it's complete revamp of all models, first it was the GS, then the RT, R, K-GT, and now they're coming out with some twins and revised thumpers. Seems like the only "aged" model in their stable is luxo-tourer K1200LT. It probably won't be too long before that too gets a makeover (easy guess: new inline-4 from the rest of the K series, retuned for more bottom-end torque).

So far, it's lining up to be a very good year!

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