Having been a resident of the Metropolitan NY Area from 1981 to 1987 I have some thoughts. Here is the list (in the order presented in the article) and a few of those thoughts:
A motorcycle in the city is also your means to get out of the city. I would not want to be on this thing in outbound traffic on Friday afternoon or inbound traffic Sunday evening. In fact, I'd probably recommend staying in the bicycle lanes while inside the city on that.
Suzuiki's retro standard. Interesting, but I just can't get excited about the TU retro styling with the Bonnie in the same list.
There's one of these in my garage...a 2017 owned by my son. It's much bigger than you might think, but I'm still not sure I'd want it in heavy outbound/inbound traffic. However, we have four motorcycles in our garage and my son jumps on the TW200 more for commuting and recreational than the others...to the point I needed to regear for a little better road use. He thinks its "da bomb!"
A motorcycle needs to be rugged, because of the higher liklihood of getting bumped and tipped on the street, but the KLR has the soft left side that exposes expensive rad/fan parts. Bar would definitely be in order. Also, the 35" seat height would be most imposing for most. For those not put off buy the seat height, you'll enjoy the better visibility in city traffic.
Harley Street 750
Air-cooled Harley in the city? Well, my city bike from 1981-1987 was a Harley Sportster and I never thought once about it. So, here's the question, do you want to sit in gridlock traffic on a low comfy seat (Harley) with both feet on the ground or on a tall, hard saddle like the KLR? I'll take the Harley.
KTM 690 Duke
Huh? The 690 Duke is a canyon carver...very light and very fast (for a single). It's also a popular track bike. Go to Google images for the Duke and you won't find any city pictures.
Triumph set the "gold" standard with its styling of the Bonneville decades ago. Believe it or not the first Triumph Bonneville came off the assembly line in 1959...and here in 2017 it's still available (albeit a different ownership group). It's classic, it's recognizable. It's a respectable choice.
Ducati Urban Enduro
What do we have here? Well, of course the enduros are going to catch a little extra attention on a dual sport page, but I hadn't seen this model yet. Slightly lighter than the KLR (wet 423 vs 432) and a 31" seat height make that sucker attractive...I mean, like, aside from the fact that it's very visually attractive. Fuel injected, air cooled, 803 L-Twin. Look at that clearance! Bash plate, fork guards! Yeah, a Duc price tag too at $10,500. Still...very nice bit off work there by Ducati.
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It doesn't appear that the article ranked these models in any order. Here's how I'd rank their models first to last in terms of Urban Motorcycles.
- Triumph Bonneville
- Harley Davidson Street 750
- Kawasaki KLR650
- Ducati Urban Enduro
- Suzuki TU250X
- KTM 690 Duke
- Yamaha TW200
- Honda Grom
Since the list is about urban use, the dual-sports need to take a back seat to the Bonnie and the Harley for one primary reason...comfort. You're going to want a good seat. You're going to need both feet on the ground in the city to kick in one direction or the other to move quickly.
After the Bonnie and Harley, the KLR rises above the rest because...literally...it rises above the rest. Looking over cars would have been really helpful back in my city navigation days. The Duc is behind the KLR for being three inches lower.
I'm kind of bored by the engine size of the TU and I consider the KTM among sport bikes. The TW200 is a super fun motorcycle. It's just a little on the small side for city visibility and it's low end is not responsive enough for quick maneuvering in intersections.
The poor Grom...reminds me of the old Harley Shortster. Like I said, stay in the bicycle lanes with that thang.