Cars aren’t the only vehicles undergoing rapid evolution as we move into the meat of the 21st century. Advances in technology have led to new and exciting motorcycles, and as road conditions worsen and traffic only gets denser, the two-wheeled mode of transport is becoming more attractive to non-riders all the time.

Owning and riding a motorcycle is simpler than ever thanks to advances in safety and fuel economy, but there’s still a huge number of options to choose from if you’re shopping bikes. Here are our five selections for the most exciting motorcycles for the new year.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Possibly the most important bike in Harley-Davidson’s 100+ years of existence, the LiveWire could single-handedly move Harley into the 21st century and be the harbinger of a new era of motorcycling. With instant torque thanks to its 15.5-kilowatt-hour electric drivetrain, the new EV bike has been receiving rave reviews from journalists who appreciate its symmetrical looks, ample shove and nimble handling. A watershed moment for bikes, indeed.

KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

Finding the “one bike quiver” has always been a fun challenge for riders. The bike that can serve nearly as well on city streets or dusty trails is as elusive as it is attractive. The 790 Adventure R is a super-capable trail bike that has the power to do city-duty when you ask it to, but requires no holding back when it’s time to rip up some dunes. Add to that the upgraded suspension and limited-production trim on the special-edition Rally trim and we’re sold.

Harley-Davidson FLTRK Road Glide Limited

For those traditionalists who are happy without an electric motorcycle or one that can chew up berms and sand dunes, the cruiser is king. With a plush long-wheelbase, all the lighting and technology you need to devour miles and miles of highway, and a powerful Milwaukee 8 114 V-twin engine for motivation, the FLTRK roadster is a shrine to traditional Harley values.

Royal Enfield Continental GT650

With the Cafe Racer scene on a seemingly unstoppable tear heading into 2020, a whole slew of manufacturers are trying their hand at rekindling the magic of 1960s motorcycles. Enfield’s contribution to the competition stands out as an example of awesome 60s styling with the modern road manners that make you glad you’re not actually traversing 2020’s highways on a 60-year-old bike. It’s also dirt-cheap, a perfect first bike for those who know better than to jump onto a 1000cc monster.

Husqvarna Svartpilen 701

After decades of sticking to dirt-only, the small Swedish company is making an exciting return to street bikes with the clean and aggressive Svartpilen and Vitpilen motorcycles. With a smartly-selected set of components and 75 horsepower from the larger, 701 variant of the bike, this is a capable on-road bike with enough sporty DNA to indulge the occasional backroad jaunt. Choosing one of these will definitely ensure that you don’t blend in at the next friendly gathering you attend.

It’s an exciting time for motorcycles. We had a difficult task choosing just five bikes to place on this list, and there are no doubt a few that deserve to be here but were not mentioned (no traditional sportbike!?!) We feel this represents a great selection of bikes that might appeal to different types of riders. What bike do you think deserves to be in the running? Let us know in the comments section, below.

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Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington and is an automotive journalist who has written for dozens of auto sites, including Yahoo Autos, Hooniverse, GT Spirit, The Mustang Source, and more. Scott's website, www.OffTheThrottle.com, and YouTube channel are popular automotive destinations.

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