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Motorcycles Motorcycle Models That Will Outlive Us All

22:55  08 october  2020
22:55  08 october  2020 Source:   motorcyclecruiser.com

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Around this time every year we begin poring over manufacturer websites in search of the latest, coolest hardware or fresh redesigns, and to be fair, most times we’re rewarded with a slick new model or at least some trick tech and maybe a compelling accessory. But there are always a few bikes that seem to return to the line with every turn of the calendar page. Some of these stalwarts are entirely unchanged, some get a fresh coat of paint for the year, while others might retain the name but go through a more serious redesign. These are the bikes that consistently have proven their worth to the manufacturers, in part because they sell, or because the name carries brand recognition, or because the R&D, tooling, and production are all paid for at this point.

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a bicycle is parked next to a motorcycle: The Honda 50 (the Super Cub name was taken) basically started the Honda Motor Company when it came out in 1958, and Honda’s built more than 110 million of them since. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The Honda 50 (the Super Cub name was taken) basically started the Honda Motor Company when it came out in 1958, and Honda’s built more than 110 million of them since. a bicycle is parked next to a motorcycle: The Honda 50 (the Super Cub name was taken) basically started the Honda Motor Company when it came out in 1958, and Honda’s built more than 110 million of them since. © Andrew Cherney The Honda 50 (the Super Cub name was taken) basically started the Honda Motor Company when it came out in 1958, and Honda’s built more than 110 million of them since.

In fact, some of these long-running bikes may just prompt a quick ride down memory lane.

Related: 7 Takes on the Sportster

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: The new generation Super Cub doesn’t look all that different from the original. And the Cub nameplate is the best-selling vehicle of all time! © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The new generation Super Cub doesn’t look all that different from the original. And the Cub nameplate is the best-selling vehicle of all time!

2020 Honda Super Cub: $3,649

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: The new generation Super Cub doesn’t look all that different from the original. And the Cub nameplate is the best-selling vehicle of all time! © American Honda Motor Co. The new generation Super Cub doesn’t look all that different from the original. And the Cub nameplate is the best-selling vehicle of all time!

Years in production: 1958-1983 (US); 2019-present

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Sure, the most recent version is a 125cc fuel-injected all-new machine introduced in 2019, but we simply can’t start this list without mentioning the world-record-holding Honda Super Cub. The original (called Honda 50 in the US) was a 49cc, three-speed machine that essentially created the Honda Motor Company when it debuted in 1958, and since then, Honda’s built more than 110 million of them in displacements ranging from 50cc up to 125, allowing it to claim the title of best-selling self-propelled vehicle of all time. The Cub’s current 125cc, single-overhead-cam, two-valve engine can also be found in other small Hondas, like the throwback 2021 Monkey and the grin-getting Grom, but the Cub’s step-through design, four-speed sequential transmission, and relatively long 48.9-inch wheelbase make it more accessible, stable, and comfortable. It’s amazingly easy to ride, and the perfect beach or inner-city errand runner, and as Editor Morgan Gales put it in his First Ride review, “With a small and efficient engine, affordable price point…the Honda Super Cub C125 ABS cuts the intimidation factor for new riders.” Although it hadn’t been available in the US for some 40 years before this version, the Honda Motor Company in Japan continued to sell and develop the step-through around the world with massive success.

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powersports.honda.com/street/minimoto/super-cub-c125?year=2020

a motorcycle parked on the side: This other familiar (though not-as-long-running) Honda nameplate was a complete redesign for the 21st century. Pictured is the Rebel 300. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser This other familiar (though not-as-long-running) Honda nameplate was a complete redesign for the 21st century. Pictured is the Rebel 300.

2020 Honda Rebel: $4,499/$6,199

Years in production: 1985-2016; 2017-present

Those who got their endorsement the MSF way might know that the CMX250, or Rebel 250, was a 234cc cruiser-style motorcycle made by Honda on and off since 1985. The entry-level bike’s greatest claim to fame was probably its ubiquitous usage in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s certified rider-training courses (remember?). In that previous life, it used the same 234cc (14.3ci) straight-twin engine as the Honda Nighthawk 250 standard, but these days the Rebel rocks a completely new design with an all-new single-cylinder engine for the 300 model and a new parallel twin for the 500. Because these latest Rebels were introduced in 2017 as all-new models, we can’t really call the Rebel a continuously produced, unchanged model—the 300 and 500 models share no parts with the older 250 bike. What they do share though is the same ease of use and accessibility for almost any rider, big or small.

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a motorcycle parked on the side: The original 234cc Rebel was a familiar sight at many motorcycle training courses. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The original 234cc Rebel was a familiar sight at many motorcycle training courses.

powersports.honda.com/street/cruiser/rebel-300

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a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: Yamaha’s venerable, feisty VMax has been making waves around the world for nearly 40 years. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Yamaha’s venerable, feisty VMax has been making waves around the world for nearly 40 years.

2020 Yamaha VMax: $17,999

Years in production: 1985-2008; 2009-present

Another iconic name from the 1980s is the VMax, though it too has had to reinvent itself to keep up with the times. Yamaha’s hard-charging V-4 musclebike was sold with only minor revisions from the original 1985 model year all the way until 2007 (though it did get a few tweaks in 1993, gaining a larger-diameter fork and four-piston brake calipers among other small upgrades). In 2009, though, we finally saw an all-new version of the VMax, completely redesigned with an all-aluminum frame holding a bigger 1,679cc, liquid-cooled, 65-degree, V-4, DOHC engine used as a stressed member; fully adjustable suspension; antilock brakes; slipper clutch; and even more insane power than on Gen 1. Instead of the V-Boost on the original carbureted V-Max (that opened butterfly valves in the intake manifold to boost power), the newer fuel-injected bike uses YCC-I and YCC-T. That Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I) system is borrowed from the firm’s R1 racebike, so you just know your throttle hand will be happy.

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Yamahamotorsports.com

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a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: Built (almost continuously) since 1939, Royal Enfield’s classic Bullet model now comes in 350cc and 500cc sizes. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Built (almost continuously) since 1939, Royal Enfield’s classic Bullet model now comes in 350cc and 500cc sizes.

2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 350/500: NA/$4,999 (US)

Years in production: 1932-2020

a motorcycle parked on the side: This other familiar (though not-as-long-running) Honda nameplate was a complete redesign for the 21st century. Pictured is the Rebel 300. © American Honda Motor Co. This other familiar (though not-as-long-running) Honda nameplate was a complete redesign for the 21st century. Pictured is the Rebel 300.

Talk about staying power—the Bullet has managed to stay in production for over half a century now. In fact, it’s one of the longest-running motorcycles to be in continuous production, going all the way back to its introduction in 1932. Although its engine has been greatly refined and offered in several displacements through the years (the popular Bullet 500 was discontinued in India this year but is still available here), the foundation has remained relatively consistent throughout that long stretch. No, it doesn’t have the latest tech or most power, but it brings the rider back to an earlier time of motorcycling, when it was pure and simple. From the hand-painted fuel tank to the halogen bulb, or the 499cc single-cylinder engine to the electric/kickstarter, the Bullet has those sought-after intangibles older motorcyclists often mumble about, of “character and soul.” As we have said in past reviews, you can “click into fifth gear on the road and it feels like five decades ago.” Take a new model out for a ride and we guarantee someone will ask you what century it’s from.

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a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: The Bonneville stays true to its performance roots and traditional style, even on the 2020 models. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The Bonneville stays true to its performance roots and traditional style, even on the 2020 models.

2020 Triumph Bonneville T100: $10,450

Years in production: 1959-1983; 1985-1988; 2001-present

a motorcycle parked on the side: The original 234cc Rebel was a familiar sight at many motorcycle training courses. © Motorcyclist The original 234cc Rebel was a familiar sight at many motorcycle training courses.

Triumph’s Bonneville model has existed, in one form or another, for well over 50 years (with a few sizable gaps in production, however), though the latest generation is the one we’re concerned with here. Kudos to the reborn Hinckley-based brand for its relaunch of the iconic model; the new version boasted a completely new design when it debuted in 2001, yet managed to strongly reference the original series, both in styling and performance. In total, the Bonneville was manufactured in three generations over three separate production runs (the first two by now-defunct Triumph Engineering in Meriden, England), and the latest run, which has already had several redesigns, is already going on 20 years. There have been plenty of changes in that period, with fuel injection, restyling, and even a new engine making the scene in both the T100 and the T120 models a couple of years back, but you can draw a pretty straight through line between the current bikes and the iconic 1959 original, with each version sporting spirited performance, comfortable ergos, and classic good looks. In fact, the 2020 T100 is a dead ringer for our personal ’03 model—externally, anyway.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: Yamaha’s venerable, feisty VMax has been making waves around the world for nearly 40 years. © Yamaha Motor Corp. Yamaha’s venerable, feisty VMax has been making waves around the world for nearly 40 years.

triumphmotorcycles.com/motorcycles/classic

Related: Triumph’s New Bonnevilles

a motorcycle parked on the side: The S40, née Savage, may not be in the firm’s current year’s lineup, but it still can be found on Suzuki’s website (as a 2019 model). © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The S40, née Savage, may not be in the firm’s current year’s lineup, but it still can be found on Suzuki’s website (as a 2019 model).

2019 Suzuki Savage, aka Boulevard S40: $8,795

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Years in production: 1986-2019

It’s not available in the 2020 lineup, and presumably won’t be for 2021, but you can still snag a Suzuki S40 from the firm’s 2019 offerings (it’s right there on the Suzuki website). The Bike Formerly Known as the Savage was manufactured with that name from 1986 to 2004, and then transitioned to the far more sleepy Boulevard S40 moniker for 2005, which it retained until last year. But could that really be its last year of production? The first production chopper-style model from Japan might just make a comeback, given the fact that its air-cooled single-cylinder 647cc engine, low seat height, and 19-inch wheel arrangement lasted for 33 years in Suzuki’s cruiser lineup in the first place, virtually unchanged the whole time. The last time we rode one (15 years ago!) we had kind things to say, so if you’re feeling like there’s a bobber project in your future (or you’re just a beginning rider), used ones can probably be found for cheap.

suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/Boulevard%20S40/2019/S40.aspx

a motorcycle parked on the side: Basic but subtly classic all at once, the newer Guzzi V7 III maintains the brand’s sporting middleweight lineage while remaining an enjoyable yet accessible ride. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Basic but subtly classic all at once, the newer Guzzi V7 III maintains the brand’s sporting middleweight lineage while remaining an enjoyable yet accessible ride.

2020 Moto Guzzi V7: $8,490

Years in production: 1971-1973; 2008-present

Choose whichever style floats your boat from Guzzi’s latest V7 series; they’re all the same under the sheet metal (we currently like the Stone or the Milano). Although Guzzi began making a V7 model way back in 1967, the current bike can trace its form more closely to 1971′s Moto Guzzi V7 Sport offshoot, which was the first to feature Moto Guzzi’s now-signature transverse V-twin, and was also the brand’s first shaft-driven model. The V7 Sport had a larger 748cc motor with a redesigned frame, larger drum brakes, and a five-speed transmission, but Guzzi discontinued the V7s in 1973, and thought to reintroduce the namesake current generation models only in 2008; the current V7 III’s 744cc V-twin is smaller, but still offers a spirited push in the corners with a light handling nature to keep most pilots well-entertained. The newer bikes still sport basic suspension and single rotor brakes so there are some price point compromises, but the 5.5-gallon tank makes for decent range between fill-ups, plus ABS is standard. Its retro cues make it instantly appealing, and if you’re into cool simplicity with a dash of Italian charm, the V7s will hook you. We hope they stick around.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: Built (almost continuously) since 1939, Royal Enfield’s classic Bullet model now comes in 350cc and 500cc sizes. © Royal Enfield Built (almost continuously) since 1939, Royal Enfield’s classic Bullet model now comes in 350cc and 500cc sizes.

motoguzzi.com/us_EN/moto/standard/V7-III/V7-III-Milano/

Related: 2017 Moto Guzzi V7III Stone Walkaround

a man riding on the back of a motorcycle: Few brands have name recognition like Harley’s Sportster, which over the decades has remained a fan (and customer) favorite of seasoned riders newbies and customizers alike. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Few brands have name recognition like Harley’s Sportster, which over the decades has remained a fan (and customer) favorite of seasoned riders newbies and customizers alike.

2020 Harley Sportster 883: $8,999

Years in production: 1957-present

The Harley-Davidson Sportster is the longest continuously produced motorcycle in the H-D lineup, having made an appearance in Milwaukee’s inventory since 1957, designated in H-D lingo with the code “XL.” We all know the history of this nameplate by now, having seen literally dozens of variations of the bike at this point in its life, but the original Sportster was powered by the overhead-valve Ironhead engine, which was replaced with the Evolution engine (with alloy heads) in 1986 where it soldiers on to this day. The Evo engine could be found in 883cc, 1,100cc, and 1,200cc displacements over the years, though now there are just two variations—883 and 1,200cc—with fuel injection on all models as of 2007. The frame too underwent all kinds of tweaks and refinements and even wholesale redesigns, with rubber mounting coming into play from 2004 on. With a new liquid-cooled, smaller-displacement engine in the works at Harley-Davidson, it begs the question of how much longer the Sportster—at least in its current form—will stay in the lineup. Like the Ford Mustang, we’re betting H-D’s popular two-wheeler also won’t be going away any time soon.

a man riding on the back of a motorcycle: 20 years ago, the 2000 XL1200C fitted a 1200cc engine to the familiar Sportster chassis. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser 20 years ago, the 2000 XL1200C fitted a 1200cc engine to the familiar Sportster chassis.

harley-davidson.com/us/en/motorcycles/sportster.html

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a blue motorcycle parked on the side of the road: The Ural sidecar rigs offer a simple boxer engine design, passenger accommodations, and the accessibility of three wheels. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The Ural sidecar rigs offer a simple boxer engine design, passenger accommodations, and the accessibility of three wheels.

2021 Ural Gear Up: $17,549

Years in production: 1941-present

Choose whichever Ural model you want—they’re all essentially reverse-engineered copies of the WWII-era BMW R71 with a sidecar added. The hacks are even powered by a 749cc OHV air-cooled boxer engine that hasn’t changed all that much in all this time. The Russian-built sidecar models were the result of developments in the Eastern Front between the warring parties during World War II, and the firm’s first bike was made in 1941. Of course there have been plenty of advancements and improvements in the intervening decades, with the Urals getting fuel injection, new brakes, updated suspension and frame designs, new wheels, and updated electronics and the like over the years. The marque has also shuttled in new models, intriguing trims (the Sportsman! The Retro! The Sahara!), and various other add-ons, but beneath all the new paint and fresh accessories you’ll still find pretty much the same rugged foundation for what’s really a pretty cool rig to tool around on. The US market offers two models for 2020, the less-intimidating CT and the higher-end, 2WD Gear Up.

www.imz-ural.com/gear-up

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