2023 promises to offer plenty of new and improved motorcycles to choose from in every category. There’s something for everyone, whether you like aggressive naked bikes or snappy sport bikes or just a solid cruiser. It’s great to see innovation, especially in a brand like Harley-Davidson whose aging demographic hasn’t bothered to demand much performance in previous years, but all that is changing as more new Harleys get updated powertrains.
The big brands of Japan always manage to come up with something new, after all. Even Ducati took a daring chance when they changed up the look of their most iconic model, although reception of that has been mixed. Ducati isn’t the only European brand bringing something to the table; Triumph has several quality options in 2023 too. It’s nice to see a lot more safety options becoming popular, from traction control to ABS being more standard, although not yet universal. TFT displays are also all the rage in 2023.
Kawasaki’s Z650 is an aggressively styled naked bike that, like the Ninja 650, also carries a 649cc engine and assist and slipper clutch. This Kawasaki’s exposed high tensile steel trellis frame offer both style and durability. Its two-into-one exhaust is routed beneath the bike, leaving the sleek modern engine in full view from the side. It has a TFT display which can connect to your smartphone by pairing with the RIDEOLOGY app to log rides and handle phone calls, apart from displaying your standard speed and fuel level. From grip to peg, the Z650 promises to be a dominant street bike in 2023.
9 2023 Triumph Street Triple RS
Triumph is often recognized for its more mild bikes, like their Scrambler. However, Triumph also offers this impressive naked bike, the 2023 Triumph Street Triple. This model is powered by a 765cc liquid-cooled three-cylinder engine that produces 118 horsepower and has a reported top speed of around 150 MPH. The Street Triple comes equipped with high-spec Brembo Stylema brakes and its ride-by-wire throttle enables safety features like traction control. This bike offers useful street-minded features via a TFT display that shows a number of useful things– not only your speed and RPM, but allows you to select th ride modes as well, which consist of: rain, road, and sport, depending on the conditions. If you find yourself interested in a sportier style but don’t find sport bikes comfortable, a naked bike like this might suit you.
One of the latest announcements from Kawasaki is the Ninja ZX-4RR. This low-displacement supersport runs on a 399cc liquid-cooled inline-four engine and produces 55 horsepower. Kawasaki appears to have done their best to stuff this model with as many high performance features as they could. A trademark of the ZX line is their ram air intake system, and the ZX-4RR is on exception.
This system helps to deliver optimal airflow into the intake, which translates to higher performance. Additionally, tucked behind the short windshield is a TFT display for all your important information. The six-speed transmission is equipped with Kawasaki’s quick-shifter for clutchless shifting up and down. Speaking of the clutch, this model has an assist and slipper clutch, which offers a light pull and also improves rear-wheel traction under braking.
Although the latest Monster lacks the iconic trellis frame, it still packs a ton of performance and features into one package. The 2023 Ducati Monster SP’s 937cc engine is tuned to offer plenty of low-mid range torque to best serve on the street; its peak 92 horsepower comes in at 9,250 RPM. Some of the standard safety features include cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control, and Ducati Wheelie Control. Plus, its three ride modes are managed via its 4.3-inch TFT display. It also has a bi-directional quickshifter, making each shift at speed smooth and clutchless.
The Yamaha R7 serves as the middle-weight sport bike offering from Yamaha in the absence of the R6. The R7 has the slimmest proportions of the R series, making it particularly nimble. Powered by a 689cc liquid-cooled inline-twin DOHC engine with a six-speed Assist and Slipper clutch, the Yamaha R7 produces 72.4 horsepower, making it great on the street as well as the track; although compared to the CBR600RR, it has less horsepower. It’s offered in blue, black, and white, but of course there are plenty of aftermarket modifications to make it suit your taste.
This fun and versatile bike continues to grow in popularity—for good reason. The 2023 Honda Grom gets a ridiculously impressive estimated 166 MPG, making it not only cheap on the showroom but at the gas pump as well. Its 124cc engine is no speed demon and only goes about 60 MPH, but this minibike offers plenty to get around town or just to have a great time doing stunts if that’s your thing. At 30 inches, the low seat height makes it very comfortable to plant both feet even if you are a shorter rider; and with mid-controls, it has a comfortable upright riding position.
Harley really aimed to turn a page with the Sportster S, a liquid cooled 1,252cc V-twin sport cruiser that aims to compete with the Indian FTR. The latest Sportster packs 121 peak horsepower, making it especially aggressive. It has a relaxed riding position, thanks to its forward controls and low handlebars.
Harley-Davidson included numerous rider safety aids such as their Traction Control System, ABS, wheel lift mitigation system to maintain traction and prevent wheelies, and similar systems that function while cornering. The handlebars have mounted controls to manipulate the menu of the TFT display, allowing routes, music, and calls to be managed on the go.
Harley’s Pan America sports the same engine as the Sportster S, but the chassis makes it a totally different animal. As the name may suggest, the Pan America was developed with adventure in mind, and to that end, Harley designed this model with beefier 47mm inverted forks which are electronically adjustable, a frame mounted front fairing, and significantly more luggage space potential. It also has a different gear ratio compared to the Sportster S, despite sharing the same engine, which means the Pan America will cruise better but the Sportster will accelerate faster. The Pan America has the same safety enhancements as the Sportster S.
Powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 cubic-inch air-cooled V-twin engine, the Fat Bob produces 92.7 horsepower—which is admittedly nothing to really get too thrilled about since even the latest Sportster S beats that by a significant margin. However, the bike looks fantastic and brings a modern flair to this classic design, with its custom styled exhaust, and its low-key Harley-Davidson logo on the tank is also a nice change of pace from the normally brash and overstated markings on HD products. This model is also ripe for any kind of modification you could want to make, whether you intend to make it a bobber project or just throw some bags and a fairing on it.
Suzuki originally introduced the Katana back in the ’80s, and it revolutionized Japanese motorcycles. The Katana made a comeback in 2020, and now it’s better than ever in 2023. It features a liquid-cooled 999cc inline-four engine borrowed from the GSX-R1000 which produces 147 horsepower.
The latest model’s body style is heavily inspired by the original design, with its sharp lines from the front fairing blending into the bodywork of the tank. It comes equipped with a number of electronic enhancements, including a bi-directional quickshifter, as well as traction control. Additionally, it has radial mounted Brembo brake calipers and ABS for safe and effective stopping power on the street.