The year is rapidly coming to a close, which means the new crop of production motorcycles for 2015 is right around the corner. Although we’ve already ridden many of these new 2015 machines, such as the new Yamaha FJ-09, Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT, and the Ducati Scrambler, there are still numerous bikes that we have yet to ride. And of them, these are the 10 that Cycle World is most looking forward to riding in 2015. All, of course, in the name of good service to you, our loyal reader.
1) Kawasaki H2/H2R
Without doubt, this supercharged machine—in track-only H2R form or as a street-legal H2 model—is at the top of our must-ride list. Simply put, no other production motorcycle is supercharged, and we absolutely need to feel the otherworldly accelerative effects of that chain- and gear-driven blower, which spins at 10 times the speed of the crankshaft and transforms this new-from-the-ground-up Kawasaki into a bona fide 200-plus-mph machine. A full suite of electronics will keep that front wheel on the pavement, while top-notch suspension and brakes will undoubtedly do their best to give these heavy H2s an agility that suitably complements their insane straight-line abilities.
2) Ducati 1299 Panigale S
This is the first production Ducati to crack the 200-horsepower barrier, thanks to a 1285cc Superquadro V-twin engine that produces 205 horses at 10,500 rpm and 106.7 pound-feet of torque at 8,750 rpm. While the stroke is identical to the 1199’s, the bore of the 1299 has been increased to 116mm, which means the pistons now measure more than 4.5 inches across! Compared to the Panigale 1199, a bike we already love, the new 1299 has a half-degree less steering rake, for quicker response, and its swingarm pivot has been lowered 4mm for improved geometry with the drive sprocket. An 1199 is still available, but it’s only sold as the race-ready Panigale 1199R model.
3) Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha knows how to build a superbike. Case in point: the all-new Yamaha YZF-R1, whose 998cc 4-cylinder engine is a technical marvel boasting a cross-plane crank, titanium connecting rods, big valves, higher 13.0:1 compression, and compact combustion chambers. Yamaha tells us this latest R1 was developed largely on the track, and parts such as its magnesium wheels, LED lights, and titanium exhaust prove that Yamaha has been serious about keeping weight in check. Fully fueled and ready to ride, the R1 tips the scales at a claimed 439 lb. The R1M, with Ohlins Electronic Racing Suspension, is also available, but Yamaha says fewer than 500 of these limited-edition models will be available.
4) Honda RC213V-S
In our opinion, this Honda—effectively a street-legal version of Marc Marquez’s V-4-powered MotoGP racebike revealed at the big EICMA motorcycle show last fall in Milan—was designed to steal attention away from the likes of the Kawasaki H2, Yamaha R1, and Ducati 1299 Panigale. Well, it worked. Although a serious lack of actual information about this RC213V-S means we’re not totally convinced that Honda will actually build the bike, we really like what we see. Honda has a wonderful history with V-4s, and a seriously fast V-4 sportbike with a strong mechanical relationship to Marquez’s MotoGP machine would be nothing short of a blast to ride.