KTM 1290 Super Duke R
Among the wide selection of potent, stylish sport bikes on the market, the Austrian-built KTM 1290 Super Duke R is our top choice for navigating a twisty mountain road or blasting around a track. (The 1290 Super Duke GT, a sport-touring bike, is ideal for a dash from Los Angeles to San Francisco.)
The 1290 Super Duke R is unlike anything else on the road. Its signature orange color accentuates the trellis frame, wheels, and graphics, and the updated 1,301 cc V-twin adds to the excitement. The revised cam timing, lighter valve train, shorter velocity stacks, and new intake resonators allow the 177 hp engine to rev higher and produce an unambiguous ruckus and lots of wheelies. The available Supermoto riding mode and quick shifter enable the rider to exploit the limits of the Duke’s performance (starting at $17,999).
BMW K1600 B
BMW’s Concept 101, first shown in 2015, has evolved and will arrive in showrooms by late summer as the alluring K1600 B. This adaptation of the platform used for the K1600 GT and GTL—touring bikes that are beloved by their owners—has a low seat height and places the rider’s feet forward.
Its teardrop shape, with a wraparound fairing and narrow waist, evokes a sport bike. Ornamentation is minimal: Bright touches are restricted to the front fender, windshield mounts, and shapely tank inserts incorporating BMW’s roundel badge.
Tilted forward under the tank, the 1,649 cc 6-cylinder engine purrs in readiness and doesn’t vibrate at all. Myriad convenience features ease the rider’s workload. An available electric assist helps with reversing the large bike, and once the K1600 B is under way, the Shift Assistant Pro feature eliminates the need to use the clutch to change gears ($20,490).
Indian Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite
Indian keeps scoring closer to its target of cruiser perfection. The new Chieftain Limited takes the good points of the Chieftain—the powerful and smooth-running bagger—and complements them with a variety of improved features. The 19-inch front wheel turns beneath an open, flared fender, which addresses objections to the Chieftain’s deeply valanced one. It was a big step, but Indian aims to please. Color-matched trim (instead of chrome) and a sleek leather saddle with contrasting stitching contribute to the bike’s aggressive look.
The more exclusive Chieftain Elite is limited to 350 examples. The Elite features lustrous, 12-layer Fireglow Red Candy paintwork with marble-textured accents. Because of the hand finishing, no two bikes are quite alike. The Elite also has billet floorboards, a flared windshield, and an LED headlight and driving lights. Saddlebag-mounted speakers increase the audio system’s capacity to 200 watts, ensuring additional thunder beyond the exhaust note (Limited: starting at $24,499; Elite: starting at $31,499).