New Cruisers We’re Pumped To Ride In 2020

Fresh designs for the new model year that have us stoked about the future.

BMW’s latest spin on the highly anticipated R 18 platform is the sportier R 18 /2 Concept revealed at EICMA 2019. Which version will we see when it comes out in mid-2020?
BMW’s latest spin on the highly anticipated R 18 platform is the sportier R 18 /2 Concept revealed at EICMA 2019. Which version will we see when it comes out in mid-2020?BMW

2020 is shaping up to be one of the more interesting model years we can remember, even in the cruiser realm. New bikes are coming down the pike fast and furious this time of year, with everything from a user-friendly, well-designed 500cc entry-level machine to a 160 hp electric “performance” cruiser being released just a couple of months from now. We’ve also ridden a couple of the new 2020 models already, and more than a few have delivered on their promise of an impressive ride. Check them all out below.

2020 BMW Concept R 18

2020 BMW Concept R 18
2020 BMW Concept R 18BMW

This one’s the talk of the cruiser world, and certainly a big unknown as far as final appearances go. We know BMW’s giving us an air-/oil-cooled 1,802cc flat twin-cylinder engine, but will it be surrounded by the classic lines of the first R 18 concept, or the swoopy silhouette of the R 18 /2? Personally, we’re digging the Version 1 bobber-style build (photo)—the one that riffs heavily on the old R 5 model from the ’30s, with massive jugs and exposed chrome shaft drive on full display, capped by that lovely teardrop fuel tank. The Concept R 18 even looks like a hardtail, but a closer inspection uncovers a cleverly tucked-in solo shock riding under the saddle. Regardless of which form it takes, we can’t wait to swing a leg over the Big Boxer sometime next year.

2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider SHarley-Davidson

H-D decided to revive the Low Rider S nameplate for 2020, giving it the biggest engine available in its best-handling Softail chassis. In our First Ride review, we said the “new S is lighter and faster than its predecessors, and at $17,999 it’s the most affordable 114 The Motor Company has got.” We also commented on how “the Low Rider S blends classic H-D style with modern aggression very well, still holding a classic silhouette and looking very Harley, but modern and performance-driven at the same time." Harley also upgraded suspension and steering geometry as well, giving the new S model a more aggressive rake of 28 degrees, which makes dropping into turns easier and improves low-speed handling. H-D made the new Low Rider S the best bike in the Softail platform by throwing _almost_ all of its best Softail parts at it, but in 2020 we’d love to install the taller rear shock seen on the Fat Bob and Heritage models, and see how the bike handles with a little more ground clearance.

2020 Honda Rebel 500

2020 Honda Rebel 500
2020 Honda Rebel 500Honda

For 2020, Honda is revising both the Rebel 500 and 300 models by adding more creature comforts as well as some performance upgrades. Both are on the receiving end of an assist-slipper clutch to reduce clutch pull effort, and suspension components get some much needed attention as well, with new forks featuring stiffer spring rates and the revised shocks getting the same treatment. You can also count on a new instrument panel and LED lighting for the rebellious pair too. No price is listed just yet, but you’ll be able to see either Rebel in a dealership starting in March 2020. Given the stated improvements address some of our biggest complaints from the first go-round, we’re definitely looking forward to riding the new models soon.

2020 Indian Motorcycle Challenger

2020 Indian Motorcycle Challenger
2020 Indian Motorcycle ChallengerIndian

Indian has released other new models for 2020, but let’s face it: There’s nothing really fresh under the new saddles and different paint schemes of the Scout Bobber Twenty or Scout 100th Anniversary. The all-new Challenger, on the other hand, sends a clear message to the rest of the “performance bagger” world (such as it is), with an aggressive design backed up by a wickedly capable engine, relatively lightweight aluminum chassis, inverted fork, carefully considered suspension, radially mounted Monoblock brakes, and what Indian calls a “menacing” front visage. On our first ride, we felt the Challenger struck “an excellent balance between engine performance and chassis precision, with the added benefit of well-calibrated electronics and suspension, capped off with pleasing overall ergonomics.” Add in three ride modes, an electrically adjustable windshield, and a whopping 103 hp (as tested on the Cycle World dyno) and you can see why we’d want to ride it again. And again.

2020 Evoke 6061

2020 Evoke 6061
2020 Evoke 6061Evoke

You knew there was gonna be a couple of electrics in here, but this one’s got us far more piqued than the others. You can credit precision laser-cut 6061 billet aluminum in the frame of Evoke’s latest model for the numerical moniker, but the new bike is also said to be more than just cool metal. Beijing-based Evoke Motorcycles calls it the first “Performance Electric Muscle Motorcycle,” and in a world of more aerodynamic electrics, that sets the 6061 apart, in a good way. The low seat, kicked-out front end with spoke wheels, and forward controls confirm its cruiser-ness, while dual disc brakes and a liquid-cooled motor said to crank out 120kW of peak power (160 hp!) and 200 pound-feet of torque reinforce the notion of performance. Representatives have told us it’ll hit North America sometime next year and pricing will be in the mid-$20K range, though final numbers have not yet been established. Whew, hang on.

2020 Hadin Panther

2020 Hadin Panther
2020 Hadin Panther2020 Hadin Panther

Based in California (or so the info-light website claims)—but definitely being made in a dedicated plant in China—Hadin’s Panther can fully stake a claim in the “electric cruiser” category. The bike’s swoopy styling also incorporates a big blocky fairing, scooped two-piece seat, wide handlebars, and forward-mounted floorboards. Probably the most traditionally styled electric here, the Panther is low and long with a 65-inch wheelbase and, in keeping with time-honored cruiser tradition, pumps out a paltry 45kW (60 hp), but at least it can manage a highway-capable 80 mph and 100 miles of range on a single charge. The company says it’s on track to produce more than 500 units starting early next year, and we’ve even heard it has plans to make a West Coast-style electric chopper at some point in the future. Now that should be interesting.

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 (R and GT)

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 (R and GT)
2020 Triumph Rocket 3 (R and GT)Triumph

One of the most anticipated bikes for 2020 is Triumph’s newly svelte Rocket 3, out now in R and GT trim. And now that it’s here, we can’t say we’re at all disappointed; the latest iteration of Hinckley’s battleship (or rather, flagship) cruiser is all-new, including a fresh styling treatment that moves away from the traditional lines of past versions and leans into more of a roadster aesthetic. The all-new 2,458cc triple-cylinder engine also ups the ante with a claimed 165 hp rating and a “torque number,” according to our friends at Cycle World, that will make “eyeballs bulge.” The all-new aluminum frame is also 50 percent lighter and the bike’s physical size is also shorter in length and height. Excellent fit and finish, impressive performance and handling, and an imposing look all come together to make the Rocket 3 an impressive motorcycle.

2020 Arch KRGT-1

2020 Arch KRGT-1
2020 Arch KRGT-1Arch

Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger’s boutique operation is cranking out some pretty cool motorcycles these days—who knew? With its huge thrust, easy ergos, and a unique styling, the new KRGT-1 turned out to be an unexpectedly pleasant surprise when we took it for a first ride in the SoCal foothills. In addition to that monster 124ci V-twin, the performance cruiser is packed with choice components that really sell the ride, with a firm yet cush seat, surprisingly eager handling, a custom-spec’d Öhlins fork and monoshock dialed in to deliver sporty composure, and a set of super-impressive radial-mounted Monoblock brakes that had us marveling at their feel, engagement, and stopping power, all at once. Count us as converts.