The Motorcycles We’d Most Like To Ride
A Road Dirt reader messaged me over the weekend, asking, “What bikes do you guys hope to be able to ride this year?” I thought that to be a fine question, so I put it to several of the Road Dirt fellas, asking them what bikes they’d really like to sample this year. I got some expected answers from a couple of them, as I know their tastes pretty well, but a few others surprised me. So I thought I’d share their faves with you. The list isn’t exhaustive, as each gave me more than one, but I decided to publish their top hopefuls for 2022, to invite discussion and dialogue among our readers. So when you hit the end of the story, drop a comment below and tell us what bike(s) you hope to throw a leg over this year for a test ride!
Phil Gauthier- Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT Adventure
“The dirt is from whence you came, and to the dirt you shall return.” Our Harley-Davidson fan boy actually began his motorcycling life as a youngster riding and racing motocross down in the Southeast USA back in the 1970s. Old Elsinores, Yamaha YZs, Bultacos, Phil’s passion for riding was born in the dirt. So though I expected him to list a Harley or Indian among his 2022 hopefuls, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he instead listed this Suzuki, as well as Honda’s Africa Twin and Triumph’s Tiger 1200.
Suzuki’s V-Strom has long been the “Everyman’s ADV” for both in 1000/1050 and the little sibling 650 “Wee-Strom” which we trekked the length of the Baja Peninsula upon a few years back. The 1050XT Adventure’s 1037cc, 90-degree V-twin engine makes 106 ponies and 74 ft-lbs of torque, and kitted out with Suzuki’s quick-release aluminum panniers, it’s little wonder the affordable V-Strom line is so popular in the adventure category.
Ted Edwards- Honda CB1000R
This one surprised me somewhat. Ted loves sport bikes and sport tourers, and likes to ride fast. So when he shared his list, which included the admirable likes of hypernakeds MV Agusta Rush, Kawasaki’s Z H2, and KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R Evo, I thought it interesting that the Honda CB1000R topped his chart. His rationale? “Although the Honda CB1000R would be a definite performance underdog in the category, to me the new Black Edition is better looking than the KTM, not as weird as the MV nor as bug eyed as the H2. It just steals my heart. I would love to see a head to head comparison of the KTM, MV and Kawasaki. That would be a hoot. But the CB1000R is the bike I would take home and the one I want to ride the most in 2022.”
A quick shifter, slipper clutch, svelte weight of 467 lbs, and making 143 hp with 77 ft-lbs of torque from its 998cc inline four powerplant, Honda’s naked street fighter is a beaut to behold and ride. Good choice, Ted.
Ryan Nolan- KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Our resident CCS racer stated he’d love to get his hands on such widely varying rides as the new Triumph Tiger 660, the diminutive Ohvale GP-2 mini racer, Yamaha’s R7 (who doesn’t?), and BMW’s M1000RR (not surprised), but the KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo topped his list. Why? “A few years ago I rode a 1290 Duke at the Milwaukee Mile infield course. When I got on the banking and opened the throttle it felt like the bike wanted to rip my face off! I’d love to ride the latest gen to compare and see if it gives those same feelings of raw horsepower. I have always loved the styling of street fighters and this one is at the top of my list.”
Powered by the Austrian marquee’s 1301cc v-twin mill making a claimed 180 horses and 103 ft-lbs of torque, this “Transformer” looking beast is chocked full of advanced rider tech, and indeed looks like it could “rip your face off” with sheer power. Little wonder why our speed junkie Ryan wants to throttle one this year.
Joshua Placa- Indian Chief Dark Horse
Joshua has a long history and resume in the moto-journo world, having been Editor-in-Chief of Cruising Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser and Indian Motorcycle Illustrated, and frequent contributor to various adventure and travel magazines over the decades. His expertise and experience in the world of big cruisers is well-known. So when I asked him what bike he’d most like to throttle out upon this year, I was not entirely surprised by his answer- the 2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse. His simple reason for choosing it? “It’s got power, style, grace, everything you need and nothing you don’t. What’s not to love?” We agree. I got to ride one at the Atlanta IMS Outdoors event, and absolutely fell for it. I’m not primarily a cruiser rider anymore, but if I ever ventured back into that segment for a new bike, I’m with Placa, this Indian Chief Dark Horse would be in serious contention.
The Indian Chief Dark Horse Thunderstoke 116 (1890cc) big twin makes 120 ft-lbs of torque and seats the rider at a slammed 28.5 in saddle height, weighs in at 670 lbs road ready, and just oozes cool. Yeah, the Dark Horse checks a lot of boxes for the “bad-@$$ cruiser of the year” trophy.
Nathan “GenZ Biker” Baron- Yamaha XSR900
Nathan is our youngest wrist and writer, and his “GenZ Biker” voice speaks volumes on behalf of the 20-30 year old rider segment. Having grown up in Milwaukee, he’s ridden plenty of Harley-Davidsons in recent years, and loves the legendary Motor Company bikes. But he told me in preparation for this story, “I’ve been intrigued by the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 as well as that Indian Chief Dark Horse. I have yet to ride either of them but I believe both bikes appeal to my younger audiences.” The XSR900 for this year sports a serious throwback vibe to the iconic Yamaha race bikes of old with its paint scheme, short seat, exposed aluminum frame, and race styled boxy tank. The younger gens love its retro look, and us elder gents do as well. Nice pick, Nathan.
Running Yamaha’s 890cc inline crossplane triple, this powerplant howls through its underslung exhaust. Making about 115 claimed hp and 65 ft-lbs at 8500 rpm, coupled with that shorter 58.9 in wheelbase and 425 lb curb weight, the XSR900 is a retro wheelie monster.
Rob Brooks- Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR
Ever since I first laid eyes on this beauty, in press releases then in person at the IMS Outdoors weekend, I’ve wanted to ride one. I loved the retro racer style of the MV Agusta Superveloce last year, and beholding this solo headlight cafe racer look on the completely new Speed Triple 1200 beast has made me salivate to ride one ever since. We rode a Street Triple 765 R a couple of years ago and were smitten with it, so I very much hope to sample this new bike by the brand of my heritage very soon.
Sporting only a partial upper fairing around that sexy headlight, the brand new 1160cc mill, also found in the Speed Triple 1200 RS naked sport, makes 177 peak hp, with 92 ft-lbs of peak torque. This is race-bred street performance. Can’t wait to throttle out on one soon.
So there’s our “Bucket List Bikes” of 2022! We could have added so many more, but we’ll let you do that in the comments below. What would you like to see us ride and review this coming year? What bikes would you like to sample for yourself? Let us know below!
*All photos by the brand they depict.