When something has been around for four decades, it’s usually because of a combination of inherent quality and general likability. Take a look at Rider magazine, for example. Next year, we celebrate our 50th birthday. There’s a reason for that. But quality doesn’t live in a vacuum. To survive – and even better, to thrive – there has to be change. Honda has succeeded in finding the next step in the evolution of the Honda Shadow Phantom, and the company hopes the changes, combined with a 40-year history, will help the bobber-style bike succeed in the middleweight cruiser market.
The Spirit of 750
The Honda Shadow was introduced in 1983 with two options. The larger of the two cruisers featured a liquid-cooled 745cc 45-degree V-Twin with SOHC and 3 valves per cylinder. It had a 6-speed gearbox, a slipper clutch, and shaft final drive. More than 19,000 Shadow 750s were sold that year.
There were several other chapters in the Shadow story, but if we’re following the lineage to the Phantom, significant mileposts included the shift to a 52-degree V-Twin in 1988 with the 583cc Shadow VLX. The 52-degree V found its way to the larger displacement 750cc Shadow ACE in 1998, which dropped down to a 5-speed gearbox, chain final drive, and no slipper clutch. The Shadow Phantom was introduced in 2010 with blacked-out styling (the exhaust was still chrome), the introduction of fuel injection, and a return to shaft drive.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom sees the blacked-out styling now carried through the exhaust – a good look that represents a more modern appeal. It still features a liquid-cooled 745cc 52-degree V-Twin, but machine-cut cylinder head fins add a nice visual contrast that makes the engine pop. There’s also a new two-tone paint scheme on the tank (Deep Pearl Gray or Orange Metallic), LED turnsignals, fork boots, shortened fenders, and a new single seat (a passenger seat and footpegs are available as accessories).
Colin Miller, American Honda assistant manager of public relations, said members of Generations Y and Z are more attracted to Honda’s Rebel platform, partially because of its more aggressive styling, and Honda is leveraging some of that style with the Shadow Phantom. Whereas the Shadow Aero still has the more laid-back appearance of a traditional cruiser with a swept-back handlebar and more relaxed seating, the revamped Phantom takes a more contemporary approach, with a new handlebar and clamp that puts the rider in more aggressive forward position. A graphic during the presentation showed the handlebar position close to that of the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight.
And from a customization standpoint, while the previous model’s rear fender and license plate holder was one piece that had to be cut if a customer wanted to make changes, the holder on the new model can be unbolted to aid customization.
Another significant update to the Phantom is its stopping power. Braking in the front is still provided by a 2-piston caliper gripping a 296mm disc, but the previous rear brake drum has been replaced by a 276mm disc and 2-piston caliper, and a new ABS version is available for an extra $300.
Front suspension travel has been increased by half an inch (to 5.1 inches) but remains the same 3.5 inches in the rear courtesy of dual shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability. Otherwise, seat height is essentially the same at a very cruiser-like 25.6 inches. Even though fuel capacity has been bumped 0.2 gallon to 3.9, curb weight of the 2024 model is 6 lb lighter at 543 lb.
Unlocking the Phantom Zone
The middleweight cruiser market exploded during the Covid pandemic. The wave crested in 2021, but Miller said Honda is hoping the Shadow Phantom will bring in both new riders and existing cruiser fans looking for something new. I don’t know about the younger generation – in more ways than just their riding preferences – but I can say this Gen X cruiser guy sure enjoyed the ride.
The first thing I noticed when firing up the bike was the rumble, which was surprisingly satisfying for a Japanese bike with the stock exhaust. The Phantom continued to impress as we rolled through the streets of San Dimas, California. When we tested the 2013 Shadow Aero, it made 44.7 lb-ft of peak torque at the rear wheel, with more than 40 lb-ft available between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm. I appreciated that level of low-end grunt when pulling away from intersections in town, and it held its own as we climbed 6,000 feet on State Route 39 to Crystal Lake.
The rear suspension was a little squishy in some of the bumpier parts, but that was likely a result of the preload being set for someone a little lighter than my two-plus bills. Fortunately, the new saddle is nice and cushy and didn’t give me any grief during the four hours I was on it.
The pull on the clutch lever was a little heavy, and I would rate it “medium.” Since I own an older cruiser, it’s not anything new to me, but many bikes today are equipped with slip/assist clutches, and once you get used to this feature, you notice when it’s not there. I was okay with the lever pull – although a slip/assist clutch would’ve lightened it – but there was a moment going up the twisty, narrow one-way route to Crystal Lake where a quick downshift, combined with some debris in the road, gave a hop of the rear wheel on a curve that was a little bracing.
At just $8,399 ($8,699 for the ABS version), the 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom may not have all the bells and whistles, but it is a very attractive proposition for either a new rider or someone looking to add another steed to their stable from a segment without a lot of competition.
Only Breath and Shadow
I had only one other issue with the Phantom. The bike has a decent 27.4-degree lean angle. However, when I put the arch of my boot on the forward-mount footpegs, if I didn’t want my toe resting on the brake pedal, the heel of my boot found the road surface before the pegs did. This required a shifting of my right boot to various positions, none of which were as comfortable or confidence-inspiring as having the peg positioned directly under my arch.
This is not to say that I was high-speed slaloming up the canyon. In fact, I was the most conservative of the riders that day on the winding SR-39. As to those peg scrapes, I was once advised by my colleague and editor-in-chief of our sibling publication American Rider, Kevin Duke: “Ride your own ride, but challenge your limits when your confidence grows.”
So I did. Most riders won’t treat the Honda Shadow like a sportbike, but it certainly responded to my prodding enough to make it a spirited ride up the winding SR-39. When it comes to riding my own ride, I like to cruise, take in the scenery, breathe the air, and get my heart pumping enough to remember I’m alive.
If you are of a like mind, you’ll be very happy with the Phantom. And for those of you wondering if it’ll haul a little ass, the Phantom has something for you as well, as I can attest based on the taillights winking in the distance ahead of me from some of the other riders in my group.
The new Phantom has brought the Shadow into the light, and it looks to be a bright future indeed.
American Honda has announced that the highly anticipated Honda XL750 Transalp is coming to the U.S. market for the 2024 model year.
The Transalp was originally introduced in Europe in 1986, first showing up in the U.S. for the 1989 model year with a liquid-cooled, 600cc 52-degree V-Twin with 3 valves per cylinder bolted into a full-cradle frame with a box section swingarm. A 41mm fork provided almost 8 inches of travel up front, and Pro-Link suspension offered 7.5 inches of rear-wheel travel.
Unfortunately, timing and American attitudes about motorcycles, combined with the on-road/off-road orientation of the bike, meant the Transalp only lasted two years in U.S. market.
However, fast forward three decades, and not only have times changed, but so has the Transalp, and after seeing considerable success in the European market, U.S. buyers are clamoring to give this new-generation middleweight adventure bike another spin.
“As the adventure category continues to thrive and evolve, customers are more eager than ever to get out and explore,” said Brandon Wilson, American Honda manager of Racing & Experiential Marketing. “The all-new, midsize XL750 Transalp joins Honda’s iconic Africa Twin and pocket-adventurer CB500X to complete our popular True Adventure lineup, ready to deliver unforgettable outdoor experiences to U.S. ADV enthusiasts from coast to coast.”
In the company’s announcement, Honda called the XL750 Transalp, “friendly but tough—perfect for extended touring trips, as well as the urban cut and thrust, and all points in between.”
The 2024 Honda XL750 Transalp features a liquid-cooled 755cc parallel-Twin with Honda’s Unicam design, 4 valves per cylinder, and 270-degree crank. It has a 6-speed gearbox, throttle-by-wire, a slip/assist clutch, and a standard quickshifter. The bike now comes with five ride modes – Sport, Standard, Rain, Gravel, and rider-customizable – that regulate power delivery, engine braking, and ABS intervention. It also has Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) for increased or decreased rear-wheel spin.
Speaking of wheels, the 2024 Honda XL750 Transalp rides on 21/18-inch front/rear spoked wheels. For stopping power, gone is the rear drum brake, replaced by a 256mm disc, and the front now has dual discs (310mm) instead of the previous single. ABS is standard and can be turned off for the rear wheel. Suspension travel is still comparable, with a 43mm Showa SFF-CA inverted fork offering 7.9 inches of travel and Showa Pro-Link rear shock providing 7.5 inches.
The seat height is 33.7 inches, and Honda offers an available 32.6-inch accessory seat. It has 8.3 inches of clearance, a 4.5-gallon fuel tank, and a curb weight of 459 lb.
The Transalp has a 5.0-inch full-color LCD display with four display options, self-canceling turnsignals, and a USB-C port under the passenger seat. The 2024 Honda XL750 Transalp will be available in October in Matte Black Metallic starting at $9,999.
It’s been a few weeks since our test ride on the 2023 Honda SCL500, and we still have a smile on our face. The SCL500 doesn’t make much power (about 46 hp at the rear wheel) and it doesn’t have any fancy features, and that’s what we love about it. Like the ’60s-era Honda scramblers that inspired the SCL500, it’s a basic, cool-looking runabout that is ideal for cruising around town or taking short jaunts on backroads. Its simplicity is its virtue. Just pure, uncomplicated fun.
We were honored to attend the grand opening of the American Honda Collection Hall, a 20,000-square-foot museum dedicated to Honda’s rich history in the United States. It is serves as an extension of the massive, multistory Honda Collection Hall located on the grounds of the Twin Ring Motegi racetrack in Tochigi, Japan. American Honda’s press release below provides more details, including how the public can visit the museum. Scroll down to see photos of all 20 iconic motorcycles currently on display in the hall. –Ed.
The new American Honda Collection Hall officially opened its doors on Sept. 12, 2023, in Southern California. The hall offers visitors a glimpse of more than 60 historic and significant Honda and Acura automobiles, motorcycles, power equipment, race machines, engines, and concept models, as well as images, graphics, and video presentations. The products on display represent the more than six decades since American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was established in 1959 as the first Honda company outside of Japan.
Community leaders joined Honda officials, associates, and retirees for the grand opening, celebrating the new 20,000-square-foot display connected to the main lobby of American Honda headquarters in Torrance, California.
“Our new American Honda Collection Hall reflects the important connection between the dreams and passion of Honda associates and the joy experienced by customers who love their Honda products and racing fans thrilled by our checkered flag successes,” said Noriya Kaihara, President & CEO and director of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and chief officer of Regional Operations (North America). “Everyone at Honda is honored to share the expressions of our history in America that are on display in the form of products and technology that have helped move people and society forward.”
Open to the public free of charge during scheduled public “Cars, Bikes & Coffee” events, the American Honda Collection Hall pays tribute to Honda’s unique contributions to American’s lives and highlights significant milestones in the history of Honda in the U.S.
Some examples of products currently on display:
Motorcycles at American Honda Collection Hall:
1962 Honda 50/Super Cub – One of the first three models Honda sold in the U.S. The Super Cub is now the overall bestselling vehicle globally with over 100 million sold to date.
The display at the American Honda Collection Hall will be updated several times a year to showcase different products and themes.
The Collection will serve as an educational and cultural hub for the Southern California community. Honda will begin hosting regular “Cars, Bikes & Coffee” events at its Torrance campus on the third Saturday of every other month, with attendees welcome to tour the American Honda Collection Hall.
The inaugural event will take place Saturday, October 21, and will include special activities, such as giveaways, special displays, vendors, food trucks, music and more. All interesting automobiles and motorcycles from all manufacturers and eras are welcome for attendees to display. To learn more about the Collection Hall and event information, visit HondaCollectionHall.com.
Public “Cars, Bikes & Coffee” Event Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 20, 2024, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 15, 2024, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 17, 2024, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
More Motorcycles on Display at American Honda Collection Hall
Scramblers had their heyday during the ’60s, which was before my time, but I’m a big fan of their spirit and style. They embody a carefree attitude and the freedom to go wherever, as well as a simplicity not offered by many modern, hyper-focused bikes. The best word to describe the new 2023 Honda SCL500 is “playful.” It blends cool retro style, a user-friendly engine and chassis, and a budget-friendly price.
Scramblers are perfect for Ventura, California, the coastal surf town that I call home, and that’s exactly where Honda hosted its press launch for the SCL500. A lightweight, no-frills motorcycle is great for bopping around city streets, cruising up the coast, exploring backroads, and even getting a little frisky in the dirt, though the only time we left the pavement during our test ride was to turn around in dirt pull-outs during photo stops.
Inspiration for the SCL500 comes from Honda’s own back catalog, namely the 250cc CL72 from 1962-65 and the 305cc CL77 from 1965-67. Like the SCL500, these early scramblers were based on streetbikes, and all three models share common styling elements: fork gaiters, knee pads on the gas tank, bench seats, high-routed exhausts, and twin rear shocks.
Another thing the SCL500 has in common with those early CLs is a parallel-Twin engine, though the older versions were air-cooled while the modern one has a radiator. The SCL’s 471cc Twin is a versatile mill that’s also found in the CBR500R sportbike, CB500F naked bike, CB500X adventure bike, and Rebel 500 cruiser. (The last time we put any of these bikes on the dyno was 2017. The CB500F made 46 hp and 31 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, and the Rebel 500 made 41 hp and 30 lb-ft.)
As much as I appreciate high-tech features on many of today’s motorcycles, there’s something to be said for a bike with nothing to figure out. Swing a leg over the SCL500, thumb the starter button, drop it into gear, and then just ride. Throttle response is user-friendly, power delivery is linear, and the slip-assist clutch makes gear changes effortless. The engine is smooth and doesn’t vibrate much, nor does it radiate excess heat. But it doesn’t exude much character either.
A sturdy tubular-steel trellis frame holds everything together, and the bike, which has a narrow 3.2-gal. tank, is slender between the knees. The SCL500’s suspension, a nonadjustable 41mm fork and dual shocks with two-step preload adjustment, has 5.3/5.7 inches of front/rear travel, which is more generous than its adventure-ish CB500X stablemate (4.7/5.5 inches).
For a sub-$7,000 bike, the ride is surprisingly plush, though the suspension’s softness leads to some fork dive during braking and seesawing over big bumps. More rebound damping would be nice, at least for a 200-lb galoot like me.
The SCL500 rolls on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear cast wheels shared with the CB500X, and the SCL is shod with Dunlop Mixtour block-tread tires that provide reasonably good grip and handling. ABS is standard, and there are single-disc Nissin brakes front and rear, with a 2-pot caliper pinching a 310mm disc in front and a 1-pot caliper slowing a 240mm disc out back. The brakes don’t offer much power or feel, but they’re perfectly fine for riders who are newer, lighter, or less aggressive than I am.
The SCL500’s chassis geometry favors stability over agility, which further adds to the bike’s approachability. But its lightness (just 419 lb ready to ride), the width of its handlebar, and the narrowness of its tires (110/80-19 front, 150/70-17 rear) mean that the SCL can be tossed around like a ragdoll.
With my 34-inch inseam, I was a little folded up on the SCL500 with its low 31.1-inch seat height and high footpegs. The cleated footpegs have vibration-damping rubber inserts that can be removed to add a skosh more legroom, but the better option for me was the accessory tall seat, which adds another inch of foam for more height and support. At $64.95, it’s reasonably priced, though it only comes in brown.
The SCL500 is the kind of bike that lends itself to customization. In addition to the tall seat, other factory accessories include a headlight visor, a high front fender, handguards, a number plate-style rear side cover, rally footpegs, a center tank pad, a 14-liter left-side soft saddlebag, a rear carrier, a 38-liter top case, heated grips, and a 12V socket. Vance & Hines also offers a high-output slip-on exhaust that is compliant in all 50 states.
Other than limited legroom for my frame, my only real complaint about the SCL500 is its instrumentation. It has a single round instrument panel that’s light-on-black LCD. Available features includes a clock, a gear position indicator, a speedometer, a fuel gauge, and multifunction display that can be scrolled through for different info (odometer, tripmeter A/B, average mpg A/B, instant mpg, and reserve fuel tripmeter). The instrument panel lacks a tachometer, it’s difficult read in bright sunlight, and it’s all but useless when wearing polarized sunglasses. For a retro bike like this, an analog speedometer with an inset multifunction display would be sweet.
After logging just over 100 miles in and around Ventura, mostly on backroads where I did my best to wring the SCL’s neck, the bike’s fuel economy reading was 60.6 mpg. That translates to 194 miles of range, which would be even higher for a typical owner who cruises around or commutes in a less caffeinated, type-A state of mind.
All in all, the Honda SCL500 is a helluva lot of fun, and in Candy Orange, it turns a lot of heads (a more subdued Matte Laurel Green Metallic color option is also available).
American Honda has announced the return of two its popular miniMOTO models for the 2024 model year: the Honda Monkey and Honda Super Cub. The company states it believes the bikes will appeal to both new riders as well as nostalgic fans of these past models, which played important roles in Honda’s history.
2024 Honda Monkey
Originally introduced in the early 1960s for a Honda-owned Japanese amusement park called Tama Tech, the 2024 Honda Monkey remains true to its roots, with attributes that Honda calls “fun yet practical.”
The Monkey features an fuel-injected air-cooled 124cc Single mated to a 5-speed transmission. It has an inverted fork with 4.3 inches of travel and twin rear shocks with 4 inches of travel. When the Monkey needs to stop running, braking comes from a 220mm disc up front with ABS and 190mm disc in the rear.
Honda says the small stature (30.5-inch seat height), light weight (231-lb curb weight), and practical performance combine to deliver “an approachable, enjoyable riding experience for a wide variety of riders.” The Monkey has a 1.5-gallon tank, and the 2023 model reported 169 mpg.
The 2024 Honda Monkey will be available in September in Pearl Nebula Red, as well as a new Pearl Black color, starting at $4,299.
2024 Honda Super Cub C125
With over 100 million units sold worldwide since its introduction in 1958, the Honda Super Cub offers a combination of practical simplicity and retro styling.
Honda says the step-through chassis, clutch-free 4-speed transmission, and lightweight design (238-lb curb weight) “inspire confidence,” while the air-cooled 124cc Single delivers impressive fuel efficiency and plenty of power for zipping around town. The 2024 Super Cub has a telescopic fork with 3.9 inches of travel, twin rear shocks with 3.6 inches of travel, a 220mm front disc brake, and a 110mm rear drum brake. Other features include front-wheel ABS, fuel injection, and an electric starter.
This 2024 motorcycle buyers guide highlights new or significantly updated street-legal models available in the U.S. As with previous buyers guides, we will include 2025 teasers too as soon as manufacturers let us know about them. We will continually update this guide as new models are available, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back often.
Organized in alphabetical order by manufacturer, our guide includes photos, pricing, key update info, and links to first looks or – when available – Rider‘s first rides, road tests, and video reviews of the motorcycles.
2024 BMW M 1000 XR
At the beginning of June, BMW released limited details on the on the newest model in its “M” lineup: the 2024 BMW M 1000 XR. Powered by the 999cc inline-Four engine from the S 1000 RR with BMW ShiftCam technology for varying the timing and valve lift, the M 1000 XR makes a claimed 200 hp and a top speed of around 174 mph. It shares the M brakes of the M 1000 RR and M 1000 R, as well as the M winglets, which create downforce for greater stability and reduced front wheel lift. Further information on the M 1000 XR is expected in the second half of 2023.
The 2024 BMW R 12 nineT is the successor to the R nineT and shares many similarities with the R nineT platform but features updates and a more classic design. The bike has the same air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 1,170cc boxer engine as the previous R nineT but with a more classic appearance than its predecessor, particularly with the tank shape, seat, and side covers. BMW claims the classic look and modular design also lends more freedom for individualization. The bike will also have a redesigned exhaust system, intake system, and front fender. More details about the BMW R 12 nineT, including price and specifications, are expected in the second half of 2023.
The 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane is the fifth member of the R 18 family. It features the same 1,802cc “Big Boxer” opposed Twin as its siblings as well as the same braking and suspension systems, with 4-piston calipers biting dual 300mm discs up front and a single 300mm disc in the rear and a 49mm telescopic fork and central rear shock with travel-dependent damping, adjustable spring preload, and 4.7/3.5 inches of travel front/rear. The Roctane sets itself apart from the other R 18s with a blacked-out engine and drivetrain, a Dark Chrome exhaust, a black midrise handlebar, the instrument cluster incorporated into the top of the metal headlight nacelle, and a larger 21-inch front wheel, as well as other varying dimensions.
The 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane will come in Black Storm Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic Matte, and Manhattan Metallic Matte starting at $18,695.
At the annual Club BRP event in August 2022, Can-Am unveiled two all-new, all-electric motorcycles – the Origin dual-sport and the Pulse roadster (below). Detailed specs won’t be provided until mid-2023 (at Can-Am’s 50th anniversary celebration), but both will be powered by BRP’s all-new, proprietary Rotax E-Power technology, said to provide “highway-worthy speeds with plenty of horsepower and torque.”
The Can-Am Origin has rally-style bodywork, fork guards, and spoked wheels, in diameters that appear to be 21 inches in front and 18 inches out back, common sizes for off-road tires. The final drive is enclosed, and Can-Am reps would not reveal whether power is sent to the rear wheel via chain (used on nearly all dual-sports) or belt (used on many production electric bikes).
The Can-Am Pulse has the muscular stance of a streetfighter, with racy-looking cast wheels shod with sportbike rubber and a sculpted “tank” that keeps the bike’s profile in line with conventional gas-powered motorcycles. The Origin dual-sport (above) and Pulse roadster share key design elements: distinctive LED headlights, large TFT displays, edgy white and gray bodywork, a bright yellow panel covering their battery packs, inverted forks, single-sided swingarms, single-disc brakes front and rear, and solo seats. Rear cowls may cover pillion seats; passenger footpegs are not visible on either machine, but production versions will likely have passenger accommodations.
The 2024 Honda ADV160 touts a new, larger-displacement liquid-cooled 157cc single-cylinder engine designed to improve performance and reduce emissions. It has Showa suspension front and back, a front disc brake with ABS, and a rear drum brake. Also incorporated are updates that Honda says are aimed at boosting comfort and convenience. The 2024 Honda ADV160 will be available in July and will come in Red Metallic or Pearl Smoky Gray starting at $4,499.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom still features the liquid-cooled 745cc 52-degree V-Twin, 5-speed transmission, and shaft final drive but sees several updates to styling, both in form and function. A rear disc brake replaces the previous drum brake, front travel has increased from 4.6 inches to 5.1 inches, the seat height dropped slightly, and Honda shaved 6 pounds off the curb weight for a total of 543 lb. There is also a new ABS version of the bike.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Aero shares the same engine, drive train, braking, and rear suspension and travel, with front travel stretched out another four-tenths of an inch, which is also the bump in seat height, as well as a slightly smaller tank and an overall curb weight of 560 lb.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom comes in Deep Pearl Gray Metallic or Orange Metallic starting at $8,399 for the non-ABS version (not available in California) or the $8,699 for the ABS version.
On the 2024 Honda Shadow Aero, Black has replaced the Ultra Blue Metallic colorway, starting at $7,949 for the non-ABS version (not available in California) or $8,249 for the ABS version.
Harkening back to the ZL900 Eliminator introduced in 1985, the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator returns to its sportbike-powered roots, with a liquid-cooled 451cc parallel-Twin engine adapted from the Ninja 400. A 6.8mm longer stroke helps create strong low-end torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox and a slip/assist clutch. The bike has a 41mm telescopic front fork and dual rear shocks, providing 4.7/3.5 inches of travel front/rear, and stopping power comes from a 2-piston caliper clamping on a 310mm semi-floating petal front brake disc and 220mm petal disc in the rear.
Several aspects of the Eliminator’s styling pay homage to its namesake, including the taillight, a tail cowl with its own added design twist, and a round headlight, now with a modern LED lamp with dual high/low beam chambers and position lamps.
Kawasaki is also offering the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator SE, which adds several features to the standard model, including ABS, a headlight cowl reminiscent of those found on the original Eliminator SE models, a USB-C outlet, and a seat featuring dual-pattern seat leather and stitching along the top edge.
The Eliminator comes in Pearl Robotic White or Pearl Storm Gray for $6,649, and the Eliminator SE ABS comes in Candy Steel Furnace Orange/Ebony for $7,249.
Both the 2024 KawasakiKLX300 dual-sport and the 2024 Kawasaki KLX300SM supermoto are powered by a 292cc DOHC liquid-cooled four-valve fuel-injected Single borrowed from the KLX300R off-road bike.
The KLX300 is the more off-road capable of the two models and features a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel with Dunlop dual-purpose tires. The bike has 10 inches of travel up front and 9.1 inches in the rear. From a style perspective, the KLX300 gets a newly designed front cowl and front fender, a new LED headlight, and an LED taillight tucked into the rear fender. Kawasaki also gave the KLX300 a two-toned seat cover for 2024.
The road-oriented KLX300SM differs from its stablemate in 17-inch front and rear wheels, a 300mm front brake disc, and a shorter seat height of 33.9 inches, among other features. Updates to the Kawasaki KLX300SM are similar to those of the KLX300, included updated fenders, the compact LED headlight, and a new taillight. The KLX300SM also receives the two-toned seat.
The 2024 Kawasaki KLX300 will be available in Lime Green and Battle Gray for $6,199, and the Cypher Camo Gray colorway will cost $6,399. The 2024 Kawasaki KLX300SM will be available in Battle Gray and Phantom Blue for $6,599.
The 2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R supersport has a 636cc liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder with DOHC with revised cam profiles for better low-rpm performance and cleaner emissions and a reshaped intake funnel for a claimed increase in low-to-mid rpm performance.
Kawasaki also upgraded the dual 310mm front discs and single 220mm rear disc, replacing the previous petal-style rotors with round discs. Also new are the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires. The ABS unit has been updated for better control, and new ride modes have been added, including Sport, Road, and Rain, along with a customizable Rider mode in which each system can be set independently.
The bike also has a new 4.3-inch full-color TFT display with smartphone connectivity, as well as new styling inspired by the Ninja ZX-10R. The Ninja ZX-6R is available in three color schemes – Metallic Flat Spark Black/Ebony, Pearl Robotic White/Metallic Graphite Gray, and the KRT Edition in Lime Green/Ebony – for $11,299 ($12,299 with ABS).
The 2024 SuzukiHayabusa returns with the liquid-cooled 1,340cc transverse inline-Four with DOHC and four valves per cylinder mated to a 6-speed gearbox, ride-by-wire, the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System with electronic rider aids, including cruise control and the three-mode bidirectional quickshifter system, and three preset and three customizable ride modes, among a host of other features. It has KYB suspension and Brembo Stylema and Nissin brake components, and ABS is standard.
Specific to the 25th Anniversary Model are 25th-anniversary emblems and logos and raised Suzuki logos, as well as other styling and design choices specific to this model. The 25th Anniversary Model Hayabusa comes in the Glass Blaze Orange & Glass Sparkle Black color combination reminiscent of one of the most popular Gen II model’s color palettes, also set off with special V-shaped red graphic. The 25th Anniversary Hayabusa will be arriving at dealerships late summer. Pricing has not yet been announced.
The all-new 2024 Triumph Scrambler 400 X will feature Triumph’s new single-cylinder, 4-valve, liquid-cooled engine making a claimed 39.5 hp at 8,000 rpm and 27.7 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm and mated to a 6-speed gearbox, a slip/assist clutch, and chain final drive. The Scrambler 400 X also has throttle-by-wire, switchable traction control, and switchable Bosch dual-channel ABS.
The Scrambler 400 X features a 55.8-inch wheelbase, 5.9 inches of travel suspension front and rear, a 19-inch front wheel, and a wide handlebar to provide greater stability and control when riding on loose surfaces, as well as scrambler-style protection for both the bike and the rider.
The Scrambler 400 X is available in three two-tone color schemes, each featuring Triumph’s distinctive Scrambler tank stripe and triangle badge: Matte Khaki Green and Fusion White, Carnival Red and Phantom Black, and Phantom Black and Silver Ice options. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Similar to its Scrambler 400 X stablemate (above), the 2024 Triumph Speed 400 features the new single-cylinder, 4-valve, liquid-cooled engine making a claimed 39.5 hp at 8,000 rpm and 27.7 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm and mated to a 6-speed gearbox, a slip/assist clutch, and chain final drive. The Speed 400 also has throttle-by-wire, switchable traction control, and Bosch dual-channel ABS (which can be switched off on the Scrambler 400 X).
The Speed 400 has an accessible seat height of 31 inches, a 43mm inverted fork offering 5.5 inches of travel, a monoshock rear suspension unit giving 5.1 inches of travel, and lightweight 17-inch wheels. Stopping power comes from a 4-piston radial front brake caliper with a 300mm front disc and braided lines and a floating caliper and 230mm disc in the rear.
The 2024 Triumph Speed 400 will be offered with three two-tone paint schemes – Carnival Red, Caspian Blue, and Phantom Black – each featuring a prominent Triumph tank graphic. Pricing has not yet been announced.
The 2024 Triumph Street Triple 765 range includes the Street Triple 765 R, Street Triple 765 RS, and limited-run Moto2 Edition, which Triumph says is “the closest you can get to a Moto2 race bike for the road.”
All three models will still feature a liquid-cooled 765cc inline-Triple, which was bumped up from 675cc with the 2017 Street Triple lineup, but Triumph says engine upgrades derived directly from the Moto2 race engine program have resulted in a significant step up in performance in the range. The engine on the Street Triple R now makes a claimed 118 hp and 59 lb-ft of torque at 9,500 rpm. The Street Triple RS and Moto2 take it up another notch, making 128 hp. Other updates include new technology, high specification components, an updated chassis, and more.
The Street Triple 765 R will start at $9,995 and be available in two colorways: Silver Ice with Storm Grey and Yellow graphics or Crystal White with Storm Grey and Lithium Flame graphics. The Street Triple 765 RS will start at $12,595 and have three schemes: Silver Ice with Baja Orange and Storm Grey graphics, Carnival Red with Carbon Black and Aluminum Silver graphics, or Cosmic Yellow with Carbon Black and Aluminum Silver graphics. Finally, the Moto2 Edition will start at $15,395 and comes in two race-derived liveries: Triumph Racing Yellow with an Aluminum Silver rear sub-frame or Crystal White with Triumph Racing Yellow rear subframe. The official Moto2 branding will appear on the tank, wheel, tail unit, and silencer.
In a reported nod to Honda’s history, dating all the way back to the 1960s when the CL72 and CL77 were offered, American Honda recently announced a new 2023 Honda SCL500 scrambler-style motorcycle that is coming to the U.S. market and is based on the Rebel 500 platform. Honda says the SCL500 “combines modern ride quality and comfort with authentic retro styling, and delivers the result at an attractive price.”
Honda also announced the return of several other models, many of which have received improvements, including the bobber-style 2024 Shadow Phantom cruiser, the 2024 Shadow Aero classic cruiser, and the 2024 ADV 160 scooter. The 2023 PCX scooter and 2024 Grom miniMOTO will return unchanged.
“More than any manufacturer, Honda has consistently demonstrated an ability to deliver fun, retro motorcycles that scratch a nostalgic itch while offering the performance and reliability for which Honda is so well known,” said Brandon Wilson, American Honda manager of Sports & Experiential. “That’s the case with the all-new SCL500, and we’re confident it will be a hit with American customers. ”
2023 Honda SCL500
The all-new SCL500 features all the key “scrambler” styling elements – upright riding position, high-routed exhaust, block tires, ample suspension travel and a retro aesthetic – in a bike that Honda says will be enjoyable for both new riders and more seasoned enthusiasts.
The SCL500 shares the liquid-cooled 471cc parallel-Twin engine of the Rebel 500 and is mated to a 6-speed transmission and slip/assist clutch. A 41mm front fork provides 5.9 inches of travel, and in the rear, a Pro-Link single shock with nine-position spring preload adjustability offers 4.5 inches. For stopping power, a 2-piston caliper grabs a 310mm front disc and 240mm rear disc, and ABS is standard.
The SCL500 rides on multi-spoke cast-aluminum wheels, 19 inches in the front and 17 inches in the rear, wrapped in Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tires. It has 6.1 inches of ground clearance and a 31.1-inch seat height. With a 3.2-gal fuel tank, the bike comes in with a curb weight of 419 lb.
Because personalization is vital to many fans of the scrambler genre, a wide range of Honda accessories is offered for the SCL500.
The 2023 Honda SCL500 will be available in June and will come in Candy Orange or Matte Laurel Green Metallic starting at $6,799.
2024 Honda Shadow Phantom
For the 2024 model year, the Honda Shadow Phantom cruiser will return with the same liquid-cooled 745cc 52-degree V-Twin, 5-speed transmission, and shaft final drive, but it will include updates to its bobber styling and with improved performance.
Styling updates include a two-tone gas tank, new handlebar, handlebar clamps, headlight cover, air-cleaner cover, display instruments, turn signals, and machine-cut cylinder-head fins. The Shadow Phantom also has an updated single seat, and a passenger seat and footpegs are offered for those who want to bring a plus-one along for the ride.
From a performance standpoint, a new ABS version is available for the new model year, and a 276mm rear disc brake replaces the drum brake of the 2023 model. Otherwise, braking in the front will still be provided by a 2-piston caliper gripping at 296mm disc.
Travel in the front has been increased by half an inch (from 4.6 inches to 5.1 inches) but remains the same 3.5 inches in the rear courtesy of dual shocks with five-position spring-preload adjustability.
Seat height has dropped slightly, from 25.8 inches to 25.6 inches, and the 2024 model shaved 6 pounds off the curb weight for a total of 543 lb. And at 3.9 gal, the fuel tank holds an additional two-tenths of a gallon over its predecessor.
The 2024 Honda Shadow Phantom comes in Deep Pearl Gray Metallic or Orange Metallic starting at $8,399 for the non-ABS version (not available in California) or the $8,699 for the ABS version.
2024 Honda Shadow Aero
For the 2024 model year, the Honda Shadow Aero classic cruiser, which features the same engine and drive train of its Shadow stablemate, is updated with new colors, as well as the new 276mm rear disc brake for the standard version, a feature that was previously reserved for the ABS trim level.
Braking in the front is the same as the Shadow Phantom, as is rear suspension and travel. However, in the front, the 41mm fork offers 5.5 inches of travel over the 5.1 inches of the Shadow Phantom.
Seat height is slightly taller at 26 inches, and with a 3.7-gal fuel tank, the bike comes in with a curb weight of 560 lb.
Black has replaced the Ultra Blue Metallic colorway on the 2024 Honda Shadow Aero, and the bike starts at $7,949 for the non-ABS version (not available in California) or $8,249 for the ABS version.
2024 Honda ADV160
Renamed for the 2024 model year, the ADV160 touts a new, larger-displacement engine that delivers improved performance and reduced emissions. Also incorporated are updates that Honda says are aimed at boosting comfort and convenience, but the company added that the “capable-but-rugged ‘City Adventure’ concept remains, delivering an enjoyable sense of exploration on even the most mundane urban commutes.”
The 2024 Honda ADV160 has a liquid-cooled 157cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. The engine, drive train, and 2.4-gal fuel tank are mounted low in the frame for a low center of gravity. It has Showa suspension, with a 31mm telescopic fork and twin shocks providing 5.1/4.0 inches of travel front/rear. When it comes to stopping, it has a single 240mm front disc with ABS and a rear 131mm drum brake.
From a practicality standpoint, the ADV160 has a low curb weight (294 lb), automatic transmission, a two-stage tool-free adjustable windscreen, ample underseat storage (big enough for a full-face helmet), and the Honda SMART key system.
The 2024 Honda ADV160 will be available in July and will come in Red Metallic or Pearl Smoky Gray starting at $4,499.
Choices for smaller, affordable motorcycles are growing, and that’s good news for riders looking for a fun bike that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re new to riding and want something easy to handle or an experienced rider looking for a lighter or shorter bike, you have more options now than ever when it comes to finding the best motorcycles for smaller riders!
Below is Rider’s 2023 list of best motorcycles for smaller riders, an update of the popular post from 2019. This list includes motorcycles with seat heights between 31.0 and 31.9 inches with an MSRP of $17,000 or less.
When possible, we’ve included a link to our test ride reviews so you can get a sense of how each bike performs in action. We’ve also included the 2022-2023 model year’s U.S. base MSRP (as of publication), seat height, and claimed wet or dry weight. On models with options to lower the seat height or suspension, we’ve listed the standard and lowered seat heights. You can also click on a model’s name to go to the manufacturer’s webpage for a full list of specifications and details.
The models in this list are arranged by seat height, with the first model having the shortest seat height and the last model having the tallest seat height in the list.
American Honda has confirmed the return of a handful more of their two-wheel products for the 2023 and 2024 model years. Honda says a diverse range of categories is represented in the announcement, highlighting the company’s commitment to producing “high-quality machines for casual riders, nostalgia-driven customers and niche-focused enthusiasts.” Among the products announced are an upgraded retro-inspired Trail 125 miniMOTO, returning Ruckus and Metropolitan scooters, and two returning Montesa Cota 4RT trials bikes.
“Each of these models has a rich history and a loyal following, so we’re pleased to continue offering them for our customers,” said Brandon Wilson, American Honda Manager of Sports & Experiential. “From the affordable and user-friendly Trail 125, Ruckus, and Metropolitan to the highly specialized Montesa Cota 4RT models, Honda takes great pride in serving all types of two-wheel enthusiasts, regardless of how they choose to pursue their particular adventure.”
2023 Honda Trail 125
Inspired by the original Honda CT models of the 1960s, the Trail125 has what Honda says is “an authentic, vintage look, evoking the ‘You Meet the Nicest People On a Honda’ ethos for which the brand has always been known.”
The 2023 Trail 125 has a new bore and stroke, contributing to a bigger air-cooled 125cc 4-stroke SOHC Single with a 4-speed no-clutch semi-automatic transmission. It has a 27mm telescopic front fork with 4.3 inches of travel and twin shocks in the rear with 3.4 inches of travel. Braking comes from single hydraulic discs front and back (220mm/190mm front/rear) and front-wheel ABS. The Trail 125 comes standard with a luggage rack, a 1.4-gal. fuel tank, and has a curb weight of 256 lb.
For off-road exploring purposes, the 2023 Trail 125 has three additional teeth on the rear sprocket over the Honda Cub for better hill-climbing ability, upswept intake and exhaust (with a heat shield on the exhaust), 6.5 inches of clearance, a skid plate, and a pair of front brush-guard tubes.
The 2023 Honda Trail 125 comes in a new Pearl Organic Green color and starts at $3,999.
2024 Honda Ruckus
The Honda Ruckus, a scooter that Honda says many riders choose to customize to their desired look and application, returns for 2024 with new colors. The scooter still has a liquid-cooled 49cc 4-stroke Single with a carburetor and 1-speed automatic transmission.
The scooter’s exposed frame with plenty of storage space, dual round headlights, and fat tires (120/90-10 front, 130/90-10 rear) give the Ruckus a unique look, and it gets a claimed 114 mpg fuel economy.
The 2024 Honda Ruckus comes in Black and Beige, starting at $2,899.
2024 Honda Metropolitan
The Honda Metropolitan also returns for 2024. The European-inspired scooter has sleek, rounded bodywork but also comes with utility-focused features such as 22 liters of underseat storage, as well as in-dash storage and a hook for securing a bag.
The Metropolitan has a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 49cc Single with 1-speed automatic transmission. The scooter has cable-actuated drum brakes front and back and a combined braking system that adds front braking when the rear brake is activated.
The 2024 Honda Metropolitan will be available in May in Matte Armored Green Metallic or Blue Metallic starting at $2,649.
2023 Honda Montesa Cota
Following up on the last season of FIM World Trials competition in which Repsol Honda’s Toni Bou captured his record 32nd world title (16 indoor, 16 outdoor), Honda announced the return of the Montesa Cota 4RT260R (259cc) and the standard 4RT301 and race replica 4RT301RR (298cc), for which Bou reportedly played a significant role in developing.
Designed, developed and produced in Barcelona, Spain — the unofficial capital of trials, and the home of the factory for Montesa (a subsidiary of Honda) — the Cota models offer options for both casual trials riders and those looking to take it to the next level.
The 2023 Montesa Cota 4RT260R has a liquid-cooled 259cc mated to a close-ratio 5-speed transmission and chain final drive.