Bikes used to come (so to speak) in primary colors only - no shades of nuance; nothing that really deviated too far from the Basic Concept. No real weirdness, no total oddballs.

Not anymore.

You've got your choice of Frighteningly Fast - or Fantastically Frugal. You can even have more than two wheels, if you like.

Here are four coming at you for 2010 - each of them as different from one another in layout, looks and purpose as you can get - and yet they're all still part of the same family tree:

* 2010 BMW S1000RR (base price $13,000 - estimated)

This bike's not a new high water mark, it's a tsunami of horsepower and aggressiveness. No other liter liter bike can touch its output: 193 hp at a screaming 13,000 RPM. Or even more critically, its power-to-weight ratio. The thing weighs just over 450 pounds. For perspective, a killer street bike like the current Suzuki Hayabusa weighs in at 485 lbs. - 30 pounds more - and its larger (1300 cc) engine only ponies up four more horses (197) than this jaw-dropping new BMW delivers. So it should thus be even quicker than the Gixxer.

And it will definitely outhandle it.

The BMW, unlike the big (and heavy) 'Busa, is set up for at-the-limit track days and gunslinger serious street riding. The bike features Race ABS with four-mode (Rain, Sport, Race, Slick) DTC traction control that monitors and adjust engine output as you dial in more lean angle in the curves. A slipper wet clutch further helps modify the shock to the pavement (and rider) of the engine's extreme power output, both during full throttle acceleration as well as during hard downshifts, which would otherwise tend to have the back end fishtailing like a just-landed sea bass.

Other cool features of this bike include a variable backpressure exhaust with an internal flapper valve that boost low-end torque without affecting high-RPM horsepower, a multi-function gauge pod with shift indicator that tells you what gear you're in as well as when to shift for optimum performance, and a wild-looking asymmetrical front fairing with a face so angry it could give Mr. T some pointers. The fairing is also aerodynamically tuned to direct airflow at high speed around the rider, creating a pocket of "clean air" around you - especially in fully tucked-in position for those 200 mph top-end runs.

BMW purists may frown on the in-line four-cylinder engine, but fans of all-out performance are sure to cheer. This 14,000 RPM-plus engine features a wealth of technology from BMWs Formula 1 race car engines, including super-light titanium valves, double-spray (two per cylinder) direct injection and fast-acting, super lightweight cam followers to permit very high operating speeds as well as lightning fast ramp-up to those speeds. The cam followers in the S1000RR weigh just 11 grams - vs. 21 grams in the current K-series.

In all-black paint, this bike is downright scary. And with a price of only about $13k, it's also within reach.

If you're bold enough to grab hold.

* 2010 Zero S Supermoto (base price $9,950)

Just about any bike gets better gas mileage than just about any car, but here's one that gets better mileage than anything on two wheels - or four - because it uses no gasoline at all.

The Zero S is the first mass production electric motorcycle. It's also nobody's two-wheeled Prius. Though it's as efficient as you can get (the company says total operating costs, in terms of electricity to recharge its lithium ion battery, works out to just $.01 cents per mile) it's not wimpy.

The Zero's permanent magnet electric motor produces in excess of 30 horsepower - or almost twice the output of a gas-engined 250 cc bike in the same general class, size-wise.

The Zero's also quick: Zero to 30 in less than two seconds - and it gets to 50 mph in 4 seconds flat. That makes it one of the quickest bikes in its class.

A huge advantage the Zero (and all electric vehicles) have over anything powered by an internal combustion engine is that maximum power is available immediately, as soon as you twist your right wrist. Electric motors produce big torque numbers (50 ft.-lbs. in the case of the Zero) at 0 RPM. In contrast, an internal combustion engine has to rev to produce peak power - and even a diesel engine doesn't make peak torque immediately.

There's just a single forward speed - and no clutch. Hang on - and go! The electric motor does spin the back wheel using a conventional chain/sprocket layout but that's about the only area of functional commonality between it and a bike with a gas engine.

To achieve maximum performance, the Zero's chassis is ultra, ultra-lightweight, with an aircraft-grade alloy rear swingarm and twin-spar aluminum frame. Together, both weigh barely 30 pounds. Even the fully adjustable gold-anodized and inverted front forks are among the lightest in the business. The end result is the whole bike weighs in at a very manageable 270 pounds.

It's designed to be sporty handling, too - with an adjustable monoshock rear and 8-9 inches of total suspension travel. Like any Supermoto, the Zero S is built to tackle light off-road terrain as well as it negotiates curvy pavement

The thing recharges on either standard 110V household or (faster) 220V appliance current (like you use for your dryer). The bike comes with its own fully automatic Fast Charger, which cuts off when the bike's batteries are fully recharged. The Fast Charger also works like a conventional battery tender in that you can just leave it plugged in while you're away or when the bike's in storage and it will maintain the battery at peak charge until you're ready to use the bike again.

Oh, and if you prefer something other than a Supermoto, the Zero also comes in dual sport DS as well as off-road-only MX and X versions. And unlike traditional bikes, you shop online, pick what you want - and they mail the thing to you ($500 anywhere in the continental United States).

So, what's the downside?

Range on a full charge is about 50 miles, or about a third the reach of a typical 250 cc gas-engined machine. On the other hand, 50 miles is probably enough to get you to work and back - and juicing this puppy up is still a whole lot cheaper than gassing up.

Final point: The federal government has sweetened the appeal a little by offering a $1,000 tax credit to anyone who buys an electric bike.

For more info, check the Zero web site at

* 2010 Honda DN101 (Base price $15,599)

Scooters have long had an image problem (hey, that's not a real motorcycles!) while "real" bikes can be intimidating for new riders. Honda's new DN-01 combines the ease-of-use of a scooter and the looks - and power - of a middleweight sport bike. Whether it makes everyone happy remains to be seen, but there's no doubt about its daring.

Viewed from the front, side or back, it could easily be mistaken for what it's not: Check the fat 17-inch sport bike tires (most scooters have 14 inch tires - if that), the sleek cowl with twin projector beam headlights and sport bike-like fairing. Chrome headers; meaty-looking exhaust. Drilled rotors and anodized multi-pistons calipers. A real suspension, too: telescoping front forks and a monotube shock/swingarm under the seat.

And the heart of it all is what many real bikers love best: a fuel-injected V-twin powerplant that can produce the same rock and roll sounds as any regular middleweight cruiser (though the stock exhaust can on the DN-01 is pretty quiet, as most factory set-ups are these days. But that's easily taken care of with an aftermarket exhaust). The 680 cc twin produces enough power to get the DN-01 to more than 120 mph - faster than some Hogs and plenty fast enough to silence any snickers about this bike's street bona fides.

One thing the DN-01 doesn't have, though, is a clutch.

Instead, there's a fully automatic Honda Friendly Transmission (HFT) that functions very much like some of the new Continuously Variable (CVT) transmissions) being used in new cars. There's basically just one forward speed that's continuously matched to the engine's power curve. Push the Drive button and rotate your right wrist. That's it. And just like in a car equipped with a CVT transmission, there's a Sport mode that lets you manually toggle through five pre-set ranges for a sharper riding experience. When you roll up to the next light, there's no need to de-clutch (because, of course, there is no clutch). The transmission will let you "idle" in gear, just like a car with an automatic or CVT.

Or, have some fun and select Neutral - which lets you rev the V-twin while you wait for the light to go green.

The DN-01 features linked brakes with ABS and a 27.2 inch seat height, making the bike a lot less drop-prone for riders less than six-feet-tall. The handlebars may look clip-on-ish but they're mounted fairly high and set back fairly wide, too - another nod to practicality and long-haul touring comfort.

Still, the bottom line is this thing looks nothing like any scooter you've ever seen - and runs more like a real motorcycle than anything short of, well, a real motorcycle.

Which of course it is - or isn't?

Who can say?

One small (and easily fixable) issue with the DN-01 is the lack of storage - which is as minimalist as many full-on sport bikes. But as with the factory-polite exhaust can, the aftermarket offers lots of options for hard or soft bags to customize your DN-01 and make it more roadtrip worthy.

* 2010 Can Am Spyder RT (base price $20,999 - estimated)

When Elvis got too fat to ride motorcycles he rode trikes. The Cam Am Spyder may have three wheels, but that's about all it has in common with an old-school trike.

For one, the paired front wheels are up front, not out back - as you'd find in a traditional trike. For two, they are fully independent, each able to roll with the dips in the road - once again unlike the rigid-axled trikes of the past. That means it's not a deathtrap - as most traditional trikes are.

Instead of the front wheel trying to lean while the back two fight each other to not lean at all (with one of them often ending up dangling suspended mid-air as you go around a corner) the Can Am's three wheels all rotate and lean together - giving it great road manners and confidence-inspiring stability.

The RT (for Touring Roadster - just reversed) is the latest addition to the Cam Am lineup. It shares the same look and layout that made its debut last year with the Spyder RS but with 40 gallons of total storage (if that's not enough, you can hitch along a companion trailer) and literally every bell and whistle that could be bolted on. The bike has cruise control, heated grips for both seating positions, an electrically adjustable windscreen, high-end stereo and your choice of manual or semi-automatic transmission - with reverse, to help back up the big (and beefy) beast.

Power and performance-wise, this is no Flabby Abby, either. There's a 998 cc Rotax twin developing 100 hp buried deep under all that fairing. You can shift for your own self - or let the bike do it for you.

The looks are controversial, but the engineering is highly functional. Protection from the elements is much superior to a regular bike but you still get the open-air experience. And no regular bike can match its Barcalounger-esque UltraComfort Touring Saddle or its U-Haul-like ability to carry things along for the ride.

To find out more see