First and foremost the new water cooled GS:
I think the side view looks really good. Nice lines, good proportions, not the best paint job ever, but okay. Nice optical integration of technical features like shaft, exhaust, boxer engine, and the hidden away water coolers (though it's likely not really water in there). The tank follows a nice line and if it's at all like the 2010 model it won't feel "fat" as soon as you sit on it like for example the Tiger Explorer does.
I'm not certain about the new beak design though:
The beak looks a little bit like a "Spork". It might be okay in person, or I might get used to it, but the initial reaction was that this is the single completely out of line thing on this bike. Maybe along with the weird "handles" on the sides under the windshield. It's kind of weird looking. Wrong, out of place. Whatever. Will have to see it in person.
The new GS comes with semi-active suspension which adjusts compression and rebound damping on the fly while you're riding. This is pretty awesome for tourers like me who like a stable ride but still want it comfortable and swallowing the little (and big) bumps along the way. The engine is now partially water cooled, not really, but in crucial areas, has 125HP (+15HP), the exhaust and shaft switched sides, and a lot of small other changes.
I'll have to test ride one when they come to the dealers next year.
Another very interesting bike is the 2013 Ducati Multistrada - also with the same Sachs semi-active suspension, although with a conventional fork in the front instead of BMW's Telelever. The 2010 Multi was already a superb bike in the suspension department, so it will be interesting to see how this model year works out.
Engine wise, Ducati has worked on the areas a rider like me is interested in: low speed manners. A second spark plug, different fuel injection path, different fueling, and other modifications are there to make it more rideable at low engine speeds. A very welcome addition to a very good looking bike.
|2013 Multistrada 1200 S Touring|
The Multi is one of those bikes I'd love to love, but the 2010 model I tested fell short in many areas that are very important to me. Nevertheless, I will test ride the 2013 model to find out how it feels as Ducati has now addressed every single point on my list of things I didn't like. It still has chain final drive, is a Ducati, and it is freaking expensive, even compared to the Bavarian bikes. But they have addressed all the things I mentioned in an earlier post here.
|2013 Multistrada S Touring|
Overall, optically a very good looking bike, clearly Italian, the "beak" is again something to get used to, but by far not as bad as the GS above and it really doesn't look out of place.
Now, seeing these two bikes, I was really hesitant to put the next two photos up here. It's the new Suzuki V-Strom 1000. For model year 2014 the Japanese have worked hard to re-define the definition of "ugly":
|New Suzuki V-Strom DL1000|
|New Suzuki V-Strom DL1000|
I certainly hope that this is just a concept bike. It redefines what I had as a picture in my head for the word "fugly". The lines of the design are hilariously out of anything that would make sense, nothing flows the right way, the color combination looks like random picks and the "beak" + bulging lights combination is breathtaking - in the worst possible way. Maybe I have to see this one in person, too, but I fear my impression will be even worse than from the photos.
Wow. I am not surprised that the Japanese manufacturers struggle so hard in this day and age. I might sound harsh here, but really, this is the ugliest motorcycle I have seen in a very, very long time. Who is the supposed customer base? Blind people? Then good luck selling them motorcycles. If Japan doesn't import some better designers soon, I fear they'll have even more trouble selling motorcycles in the Western hemisphere.
Now to finish this topic and rant with a truly classic good looking bike, here is one of my all time favorites:
Congratulations to Bob from here for his "new to him" blue R1200R. Beautiful bike! Can't wait for him to write more about how he likes it and how it works for him.