“Growing old sucks” is a phrase we often hear as we grow older. More often than not it is because we have to say farewell to something or someone we have become attached or close to. Well, we at AMERiders have some sad news on some Sportsters for you that we must say a fond farewell to.
It can be one of the hardest things you do as you grow old is to see all your friends, family, loved ones and, acquaintances, die off. It also can be upsetting when it happens “in a way” to some of the motorcycles we’ve grown up with and loved. Unlike discontinued humans, at least these motorcycles will still be around for years, and some will even be great bargains. But once the dealers sell them all, that will be that. For some of them, it’s good riddance; for others, we may have to shed a little tear… But, you know there will always be other exciting new bikes sprouting up to replace them. It’s the circle, the circle of life.
Harley built the first one in 1957, so the Sportster’s got to be one of the oldest bikes out there in continuous production. Harley’s been of course upgrading the bike forever, and they must have produced around 5000 versions over these past 64 years – only a slight exaggeration. Most Sportsters are probably still blatting around, since these probably have more aftermarket support than any bike on the planet. The 2021 Iron 1200 (pictured, $9,999)is among the last of the Mohicans, and after it and the Iron 883 and Forty-Eight are done, that’s it for the Sporty. But you know H-D’s got something up its sleeve to fill the gap.
Also defunct after they’re all sold out: Street 500, Street 750, and Street Rod. The Streets were produced beginning in 2014, but failed to gain traction in the marketplace.
Yamaha R6 and VMAX
The outlandish Yamaha VMAX, first introduced as the V-Max in 1985 before getting a big overhaul in 2009 that made it so bombastic its name became ALL CAPS, is finally seeing the end of the line. The OG power cruiser, the VMAX’s anime-like styling was a shock to the system in 1985, and its 1197cc V-four engine – and later the 1679cc redesigned version – was revered for its ability to rip your arms off while making excellent dragstrip sounds. The original Max came with a feature called V-Boost that imitates turbo boost by opening butterfly valves at high rpm to send a rush of fresh mixture to the combustion chambers.
The going-away of the YZF-R6 Sportster is another one that has us asking not for whom the bell tolls: It’s us geezers. Always a contender in the 600 supersport wars since its inception in 1999, and right through its radically racy 2008 redesign, it’s fitting that Yamaha will still be selling the leftovers for offroad use only, as the R6 Race.
Also leaving the building after 2021: the WR250R dual-sport and SMAX scooter.
Ducati Monsters, Great and Small
Well, there is an all-new Monster with the 937 liquid-cooled L-Twin, but the monstrous Monster 1200 is already gone, and now the Monster 797 joins it in the family crypt. The 797 will be most missable, because it was the most direct descendant of the original air-cooled M900 Monster of 1994. Also MIA in the new Monster is that iconic steel trellis frame that was for decades a Ducati hallmark. Thankfully, you can still get an elemental air-cooled Ducati in the form of the 803cc Scrambler Nightshift.
The light and powerful 690 Duke single was a fave, until it was superseded by the 790 Duke twin just two model years ago… now both have ridden to the top of the ash heap of history. Almost. The 790 Duke remains in the line-up as a 2020 model. And you can still get an awesome and powerful 690 LC4 single, but now housed only in the 690 Enduro R, or the SMC R pictured. The mourning period will be mercifully short for the Dukes, given how good the new 890 Duke and Adventures are, and how rapid is the pace of development in Mattighofen.
These are the ones we’ll miss most, but once again, fresh green shoots are already sprouting up to take their place. Across the pond, where the ability to adapt to Euro 5 standards is critical to survival, bikes on the chopping block there, that probably will be in the same situation here in the US shortly thereafter, include the Yamaha Super Ténéré: The FJR1300 sport tourer is already gone from European markets.
Various Euro sites are also reporting that Honda won’t be bringing any of its V-four bikes up to Euro5 spec – no more VFR800F, VFR800X Crossrunner or VFR1200X Crossrunner for Europe. For the USA, no great loss, as the Honda VFR1200X Sportster is the only one American Honda sells, and none too successfully.
May they rest in peace. Or in pieces, on eBay. On a positive note, though Euro 5 bikes are of course cleaner than ever, nearly all the ones we’ve ridden run better, smoother, and just as powerfully as ever.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Sportsters We Are Going to Be Saying a Fond Farewell To.
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