Coronavirus Quarantine Daydreams—The Perfect Motorcycles
Because I have a lot of time on my hands these days, I’ve been able to give some thought to the 10 motorcycles I’d love to own.
The stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus have given me more quiet moments with my thoughts than usual (disclaimer, no children here). Sometimes those daydreams turn to motorcycles, and sometimes they turn to what I’d do if I won the lottery, and sometimes they turn to the motorcycles I’d buy if I won the lottery. That perfect world where I had a fully decked garage with lots of room and a money-is-no-object attitude without any worry of falling into crippling amounts of debt.
One thing about me though. I’d get these bikes to ride, not to house as showpieces or status symbols. Rare, classic bikes are amazing to see and fit perfectly fine within the confines of a museum.
Rather, the bikes I’ve chosen are about having my ideal rides on hand for a variety of circumstances. Bikes that I’d be thrilled to put some serious miles on.
It’s a fun little exercise to do when you’ve got some free mind time, so be sure to share some of your top picks in the comments. We’d love to hear about the motorcycles that would live in your perfect garage.
Triumph Thruxton TFC
One of Triumph’s new Thruxtons would definitely make the cut, and the TFC version provides some up-spec performance specs that would take the already outstanding machine and make it even more fun. This is the bike I’d want to have for the weekends, no seriously long rides but a quick run up the hill for lunch would be a whole lot of fun on the Thruxton. It’s also one of those bikes I’ve wanted to own since I first saw it in person. Triumph does excellent work these days on its modern classic bikes, and the Thruxton is the cream of the crop in my eyes.
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES
The Honda Africa Twin has been on my wish list since it came back to the market in 2016. It’s got big-bore adventure chops, so is a great longer-range machine but can also handle some pretty serious off-road duty as well. The latest Adventure Sports ES model uses Honda’s beefed-up 1,100cc twin and is packed with the latest and greatest electronic rider aids. I’d have more than one bike in the adventure/dual sport segments, but the Africa Twin would be a daily rider for me and definitely a bike to take into the hills at any opportunity.
Ohvale GP-0 160
I did a 24-hour race on a go-kart track with minibikes and it was an absolute highlight of my journalistic career. The Ohvale wasn’t around then, so souped-up Groms and XR100s were out in full force, but the Ohvale has since made waves in the minibike racing world. The GP-0 160 is a four-speed, 155cc machine with adjustable suspension and fairly sophisticated chassis build for a little bike like this. Ohvale didn’t want to make just another pit- or minibike, they wanted to build a real deal mini racer. I would definitely have another go at minibike racing with the Ohvale, and would wear through a lot of 10-inch tires in the meantime.
Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP
A Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP would be in the lineup for those days when you just want to let ’er rip. A phenomenally fun bike on the back roads, and with Ducati’s recent update a decent freeway mount when needed as well. It’s got great power and torque for a 436-pound motorcycle, it looks great, and does a fantastic job of blending a stripped-down, hooligan-esque aesthetic with technological sophistication and real performance chops.
KTM 390 Adventure
I like small-displacement bikes and I like adventure bikes, so the KTM 390 Adventure is a match made in heaven for me. With more engine and a higher-spec chassis than the Kawasaki Versys-X 300, the 390 Adventure will undoubtedly become the gold standard of the class in 2020. Plus with some TKC 70s mounted up, the hearty little single will handle just about any trail I’d tackle before hopping onto a tried-and-true dirt machine. This would be an ideal weekend camping trip, backcountry exploration bike and would provide a great excuse to do each of these things more often.
Indian Motorcycle Challenger Dark Horse
In the V-twin corner would be an Indian Motorcycle Challenger Dark Horse. The new blacked-out bagger is a gorgeous bike, as are all the big bikes coming from Indian these days. But the comfortable cockpit, the smooth yet powerful ride, composed chassis, ample cornering clearance, full infotainment system, and bagger aesthetic all tie together to make this one my go-to cruiser. A Chieftain Dark Horse would be a close second place, but of the two I’m a little more partial to the front end of the Challenger.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R
A Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R would definitely be on hand for the occasional trackday. I’m really stoked by this bike, and the thought of having such a light, nimble machine with decent suspension, quality electronics, and a screaming inline-four is enough to make me salivate. If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m not a huge sportbike rider and don’t have much ambition to ever become one. So for me, the ZX-25R takes what’s been great about the recent spate of small-displacement sportbikes and adds the bonus of actual pull and performance. Because I do love a good trackday, and this bike would provide lots and lots of those.
Yamaha Niken GT
I’d get a Yamaha Niken GT too, only because it’s weird and I’m in a position in this thought exercise to spend money I wouldn’t ordinarily shell out. It’s not that the Niken offers much above a normal two-wheel machine, but for days when I’m looking to strike up a conversation with a stranger, the Niken would come in real handy. Plus it still works well, and provides a decent enough ride so would get some use and not just be a one-and-done ride I slowly grow to resent.
The Honda CRF450L is a must-have, because there is nothing better than veering off the pavement and having the capability to really shred on a trail. The 450L delivers in the engine and chassis departments in this respect, and keeps weight at a respectable 289 pounds ready to ride. It’s sophisticated enough (talking adjustable suspension, electric start) to be convenient and useful in a variety of conditions, but still pared down enough to provide a real connection between rider and machine. Since I’d probably still live somewhere in the Pacific Northwest after striking it rich, there’s no question a CRF450L would be among my fleet of bikes.
Aprilia Shiver 900
I really love the Aprilia Shiver 900. It looks fantastic in person, sounds phenomenal, is perfectly dialed with a few suspension tweaks, and is super fun to ride. It’s a little hefty, but that’s really only a problem when you pick it up off the stand. Beyond that the ride is great. It’s got personality and power when you need it, but is stately and composed in other more civilized circumstances. This one would be a strong contender for my everyday machine, and would be a great addition to the lineup because it could easily handle a trackday or carry a few bags on a weekend getaway.