You’ve read our weeks long tribute to 2021 in the form of the MO Best Of awards. You’ve had your chance to debate the validity of our selection of the Harley-Davidson Pan America as the Motorcycle of the Year. Now that 2021 is almost completely in our rear view mirrors, it’s time to shift our gaze to the future. As is tradition, the Motorcycle.com staff has put together our list of the bikes that we are most looking forward to testing in the upcoming year. We’ve explained which 2022 models have caught our eye and why. But this doesn’t just have to be about us and our desires. Take a moment and share the bike(s) that you are most excited about for 2022.
Evans Brasfield, Editor-in-Chief: 2022 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello
I’m excited about the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello for several reasons. This sport tourer appeals to my love of Twins (though I’m typically more of the parallel persuasion), and the Guzzi funky-cool factor is very high with the Mandello. Additionally, I want to see how the manufacturer creates a forward-looking motorcycle.
When reading about the Mandello, my first shock came with the inclusion of liquid cooling. This is a first for Moto Guzzi and represents a sea change for the manufacturer, acknowledging that, going forward, performance-oriented motorcycles will need to pump water to meet ever-stricter emissions standards (not that this is a bad thing). While the V100 maintains the traditional DOHC 90° V-Twin engine with four valves per cylinder, the ports shifted by 90° to accommodate the radiator and improve flow characteristics for the fuel injection system. Long-legged riders should also benefit from a little more knee room. This new engine produces a claimed peak output of 115 hp and 77.4 lb-ft, which is plenty for sport touring duty. The shaft drive is, interestingly, on the left side and enclosed in a single-sided swingarm.
The engine bay is not the only place with interesting things happening, either. The Mandello features a motorcycling first, an adaptive aerodynamics system. This clever system adjusts the positioning of two wind deflectors on the leading edge of the gas tank, which Moto Guzzi says will reduce air pressure to the rider by 22% when fully-extended at highway speeds. Combined with the electronically-adjustable windscreen, the adaptive aerodynamics should allow riders to tune their airflow to their temperature and wind pressure preferences for long days in the saddle.
The electronics package includes all of the amenities one would expect from a current generation sport tourer: a six-axis IMU, cornering ABS, ride modes, an Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension, and (yes, John) cruise control. Heated grips, a quick shifter, and the Moto Guzzi MIA multimedia platform (for the 5-inch TFT) all come with the up-spec semi-active suspension.
Although I haven’t seen a picture of the V100 Mandello with bags mounted, from the first moment I read about this motorcycle, I’ve had plans to hit the road for a multi-day tour on this bike. Come on, Moto Guzzi, send out an invitation to the introduction, already. Spring in the Italian lake country would be nice on a new sport tourer, no?
John Burns, Senior Editor: A Surprise
I don’t really miss it at all, but the thing I do miss about the print era – more like the pre-internet era – is the surprise you used to get when that glossy magazine popped out of your mailbox at the end of a long day in the mine. Holy crap looka the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX1000R, I didn’t even know they gave up cooling fins! Maybe there’d been a news item about it an issue or two earlier with a small black-and-white photo, but who remembered months later? Now here the new wonderbike obviously is, splattered big on the cover and in color on six or eight pages. Be still my beating heart.
In the midwest, that first time in the magazine might be the only time you’d see a Ninja 1000R or Playboy bunny, and for sure you’d never see a real Ducati F1. I had no clue where the nearest Ducati dealer was in Kansas City in the ‘80s if there even was one; I think there’s one now. Out here in SoCal, everybody’s got a Lamborghini.
Usually these days, by the time we slog through all the video teasers and curated spy photos, lots of new bikes don’t even feel new anymore by the time they finally show up. And even when the manufacturer makes an effort to keep a new bike on the down-low, there’s our human truffle pig Dennis Chung rooting through government red tape every morning to see who’s filed for what. It’s like knowing what’s inside the box of every Christmas present by Halloween.
So, all I want for 2022 is to be surprised like in the good old days. We saw the Pan America coming a mile away, but the new Sportster S kind of took us by surprise, and that’s part of what made it so fun. The first Honda CBR900RR came from nowhere (well, that was still the print era), the Ducati 916 was an Italian Pearl Harbor. The Indian FTR1200 elicited a Scooby-doo Hunh?
Then there’s the fact that I’m a coddled and thoroughly jaded old Boomer who doesn’t know why some fresh-faced kid doesn’t replace me, but I keep pouring the boiling oil down from the turret anyway. I’ve seen it all. I still love it, but I’ve seen it. What else ya got?
Sometimes the motorcycle that seems exciting in pixels turns out to be underwhelming on the road, and the opposite happens too: Who expected the new Trident to be so fun for $8k? That was a pleasant surprise that made my month.
It’s interesting how Harley-Davidson, who for these last three decades or so has been pretty easy for me to ignore, has been doing some really interesting things lately. If something like this new Harley prototype Dennis dug up nearly two years ago shows up, I wouldn’t be surprised. Wait, yes I would be!
And if it doesn’t, that new Suzuki GSX-S1000GT looks pretty swell too. How about a 1000-mile day faceoff with the Tracer 9 GT? Here’s to riding anything more in 2022, in a functioning and healthy America.
Ryan Adams, Managing Editor: 2022 Ducati DesertX
I’ve said it before regarding the Triumph Scrambler 1200, and it still holds true. I’ve got a thing for a tastefully done collision at the intersection of retro and modern styling. And when manufacturers manage to have those aesthetics mash into each other while simultaneously creating a machine with proper modern performance, schwing!
The Ducati DesertX delivers in both ways. It’s styling is far from the classic beauty of Triumph’s modern classics and perhaps somewhat more in line with Honda’s “Neo Sports Cafe” category, but still not quite. Ducati managed to keep the DesertX unique in its styling while still delivering an unmistakable call-back to rally bikes of yesteryear, solidly planting it’s fangs into the retro-ADV styling folks like myself can’t get enough of.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s the modern performance under that interesting exterior that seals the deal. A punchy torque-centric motor like the liquid-cooled 937cc Testastretta Desmo engine should be a lot of fun in an adventure bike setting. A tubeless, spoked 21/18-inch wheel combo with over nine inches of travel at each end also alludes to the DesertX’s intentions. Add in modern electronics like ride modes, an up/down quickshifter, TC, and ABS (fitted to Brembo M50s), and you have a thoroughly well-rounded motorcycle.
Five and half gallons of fuel and a curb weight of 492 lbs isn’t a bad way to go either. The jury is out on whether the 2.1-gallon auxiliary tank is more of a gimmick than it is useful, but hey, it’s something we haven’t seen a manufacturer offer before.
The Ducati DesertX looks to have all of the right stuff for a good time in the dirt, and with Ducati’s success overall lately, there’s good reason to believe this bike will be another homerun. Of course, only time and a test rip will tell. Until then, I’ll remain hopeful and keep watching Ducati’s “Dream Wilder” DesertX presentation. Happy Holidaze!
Troy Siahaan, Road Test Editor: 2022 Yamaha MT-10 SP
I start this off by borrowing a page out of Johnny Burns’ book: There isn’t much in the lot of 2022 bikes that really gets my heart racing. Not because there aren’t any cool bikes I want to ride next year – that’s definitely not it – but because, for some reason or another, the sizzle about them turned to fizzle pretty quickly. Some bikes we’ve known about for months, so the luster has worn off. Others really don’t excite me. And for the case of this article, my other esteemed colleagues picked bikes or manufacturers that I would have liked to poach.
For example, Evans picked the Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello. That’s one exception to my paragraph above. I’m genuinely intrigued by the V100. I like the way it looks and I happen to have a soft spot for Guzzi’s weird engines. With the Mandello slated to get a new engine and a supporting cast that has a little bit of a performance bend to them, I’m excited to see if it becomes the sleeper hit of 2022.
Then Ryan goes and picks the Ducati DesertX. Here’s another exception to my first paragraph. Despite the fact Ducati was teasing what would eventually become the DesertX for weeks prior to its unveiling, I still didn’t expect Ducati to build this. I’m not an off-road guy – the rest of the MO staff can attest to that – but the DesertX is cool. And I can’t wait for Ryan to flog one and tell us how it is (hopefully he likes it).
No, I wasn’t going to pick the DesertX as my most anticipated bike of 2022. But I was going to pick the new Panigale V4S. I wasn’t really expecting this bike either, but for whatever reason an update to it also didn’t surprise me all that much. Ducati has been fine tuning this bike since its introduction, and I was very impressed by Bologna’s first update to it in 2020, when I rode it at a very wet Bahrain International Circuit. I guess Ducati’s bringing back the two-year sportbike refresh cycle, and my curiosity piqued after it announced a 2022 update for the Panigale. My desire to ride it spiked after Mark Miller came back gushing about it. Despite some stiff competition, I have reason to believe the 2022 Panigale V4S will be the sportbike king of the year. Hopefully we get to find out. But alas, for both Ryan and I to pick Ducatis for this story seemed a bit excessive (although we kinda just did…).
So, I’ve turned my attention to the heavyweight naked bike category, and the one bike we left out of our big street and track comparison test. The Yamaha MT-10. Despite my objections, the MT didn’t make the cut to be part of our test, with Bossman Brasfield saying, “If Yamaha made an SP version, we would have included it.”
Well, here you go. Yamaha’s come out with exactly that, fitting the MT-10 with Öhlins semi-active suspension, a six-axis IMU and all the R1 rider aids, steel-braided brake lines, an autoblipper for clutchless shifting in both directions, and that awesome crossplane crankshaft, 998cc four-banger. All this for under $17,000! I’ve got no illusions it’s going to beat out the Ducati Streetfighter or Aprilia Tuono in outright performance – but for that price? It seems like a home run to me. I’ve been a fan of the MT-10 from the start. Now that Yamaha has added proper suspension and electronics to it, I can only see my fandom for it reaching new heights. I can’t wait to give it a thorough flog. Maybe another edition of a heavyweight naked bike test is in order?