Replacements For Displacement


Replacements for Displacement

What if you wanted a competent, lightweight motorbike to tool around on? You’re not looking for the triple-digit brawn of a liter bike; you don’t need the cutting-edge tech of a race replica. You’re thinking a middleweight motorcycle with modern features, and enough performance to put a grin on your face. A new bike with a factory warranty that’s priced under $9,000. Or is that too much to ask? Not at all. In fact, it’s amazing how much motorcycle you can get for your money these days.  The three we show here don’t feature many bells or whistles, but all offer around 700cc of displacement, a comfortable riding position and plenty of power for a spirited urban romp or a blast down a back road.  The best part? You can get any of them for around $8,000.

cbr 650fHonda CBR 650F

Leave it to Honda to offer practicality and fun in one package. The all-new CBR650F is built to cover the kind of enthusiastic street riding most of us tend to do, which is occasional bombing on windy back roads, rather than wide-open in a full race tuck. This middleweight strikes us as the modern-day equivalent of Honda’s uber-popular F2 model from the ’90s, with its balance of sporty styling, nimble handling, excellent braking and all-day comfort, topped with a very friendly price tag. That flexible, super-smooth, 649cc inline-four engine and low center of gravity will appeal to newbies as well as experienced riders, as will the $8,499 MSRP—that’s $3,000 less than Honda’s higher-spec, race-focused CBR600RR.

Untitled-2Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS

If you’re looking for a more versatile platform (and a more upright riding position), you can’t go wrong with the liquid-cooled 649cc Versys. This parallel-twin multitasker is redesigned for 2015, and brings improved braking, reworked (and adjustable) suspension and an all-new adjustable windshield to its already well-regarded feature set. The motorcycle press has praised its overall balance and easy steering, saying the new Versys is even better than the old, which itself was no stranger to Top 10 Bang for the Buck lists. For 2015, Kawi also restyled the universally panned snout of last year’s Versys, adding new horizontal dual headlamps for a sexier look. And then there’s the price tag: $7,999, with ABS brakes standard. Talk about a heck of a deal!


Untitled-3Yamaha FZ-07

The 689cc FZ-07 packs the most punch in this group displacement-wise, but that also comes with a side of grunty power, nimble handling and the most affordable buy-in of this trio. Also, consider that its tightly packaged crossplane, parallel-twin engine is pushing an overall mass of just 400 lb! At just under $7,000, the FZ-07 is inexpensive, but it doesn’t look or feel like a budget bike in any way. The suspension is pretty basic, and the steel chassis is a simple backbone; there’s no traction control or ABS. But the reviews are in, and everything we’ve read says that the FZ-07 is an unfussy, wonder-fully agile, impressively powerful and ultimately appealing motorcycle. Call it a cheap thrill if you must, but that’s in no way a bad thing.

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