Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki XRH-1 MotoGP Bike at COTA, While Randy De Puniet Matches Pace of Open Bikes

Suzuki’s MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit, as the team had not yet tested the Suzuki XRH-1 at COTA, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015. Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday’s race.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

A&R’s EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946

11/16/2012 @ 5:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 02 635x493

It is no easy feat in picking the very “best” from a wide array of motorcycles, like we have to do here with the 2012 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. How do you compare an adventure-touring bike to a sport bike, and then declare one better than the other? As you can imagine, the comparison is very much an exercise in measuring apples to oranges.

If our metric of choice was simply based on how much buzz was generated here on Asphalt & Rubber, and on the various social media networks as a whole, then the clear winner would be the KTM 1290 Super Duke R Prototype. With a bored-out RC8 R motor that makes 180hp, the KTM surely performs as good as it look, and it looks quite delectable indeed.

Maybe the best bike of the show should go to the now water-cooled Ducati Hypermotard, or its touring variant the Ducati Hyperstrada. Doing away with the air-cooled DesmoDue design of Pierre Terblanche, the 2013 Hypers are a new chapter for Ducati, and just further proof that there are no sacred cows in the Borgo Panigale factory. Speaking of Panigales, we also have to consider the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, of course if that conversation is to occur, then we have to also include the Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS.

You see it is no easy feat to pick the “Best in Show” at EICMA, and in even our short thought-process above, there are names that are glaringly omitted. What makes the process possible however is when a new model comes along, and clearly outshines everything else — such is the case with the Vespa 946.

A nod to the WWII-era Vespa MP6, it might not be hyperbole to say that the Vespa 946 has the dubious honor of having to build off one of the most iconic scooters to come out of Italy, and maybe even the world. That being said, the lines of the Vespa 946 are a nice blend of the MP6′s style, with a firm touch on the modern — this isn’t a modern take on an old design, but more of a modern design that gives appropriate credit to its predecessors.

Even this hardened sport-biker can’t help but enjoy the aesthetic that the Vespa 946 brings to the table, but it is the technical bits that sets the Vespa 946 truly apart. A true steel monocoque chassis designed with aluminum accents, the Vespa 946 has as much technical prowess as it has visual appeal. So, it makes it only more interesting that a bike with an 11hp motor should tickle our performance-oriented fancy so intently.

Using a 125cc, four-stroke, three-valve, single-cylinder engine design, the Vespa 946 is good for nearly 130mpg, making it a very practical choice for the urban commuter. Lighting is produced by a full-LED headlight system, a major new trend in the motorcycle industry, and our first glimpse of the technology on a Piaggio Group product. However, the real-game changer here is the Vespa’s inclusion of ABS brakes and an ASR traction control system on the Vespa 946 — the first adaptation of those technologies in this class of scooter.

A beautiful, efficient, cost-effective, and safety oriented machine for zipping around the city, it is hard not to make grandiose claims about how the Vespa 946 will change the urban-commuting landscape. Pricing will be key of course, as the Italian brand has often commanded a premium when compared to the more competitive options from Japan. However, out of all the new models we saw at EICMA this year, the Vespa 946 has the potential to bring the most change to the motorcycle industry.

It raises the bar significantly in the scooter segment by offering maxi-scooter features at the traditional scooter level. Additionally, the new Vespa also brings an appropriate design aesthetic that is universally appealing. However most importantly, the Vespa 946 has the greatest potential to bring mainstream appeal back to two-wheeled vehicles.

The most likely candidate for the motorcycle we will still be talking about a decade from now, the Vespa 946 isn’t built for motorcyclists to enjoy by either show-stopping performance or advanced technical specificatoins. It is a scooter built to woo the average citizen with product lust and common sense. More importantly, it is proof that the motorcycle industry can sell cool again to the mainstream.

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 01 635x493

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 04 635x493

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 03 635x493

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 06 635x816

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 08 635x423

A&Rs EICMA 2012 Best in Show: Vespa 946 Vespa 946 scooter 13 635x260

Source: Piaggio Group

Comment:

  1. Sean in Oz says:

    That’ll look UGLY with a top box on it!

    Will the style trump the loss of practicality in the marketplace?

  2. JoeD says:

    Will it be able to overcome the stigma associated with Scooters in general?

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    I’m torn between agreeing with you because it is aesthetically pleasing and appeals to my sensible side, and ranting about how it’s still a scooter and the Duke is a stomping BMF!

  4. Good choice. Beautiful aesthetics.

  5. jackie says:

    Hear hear. That’s a beautiful little rolling piece of art.

  6. pooch says:

    Much as I don’t like the fact a Scooter took out best in show…. that looks like a little jewel.

    Bet it looks really awesome in the flesh.

  7. MikeD says:

    Best in show… ? NAH (i can’t get over the crappy choice of wheel design it ended with), too much RETRO-ness is not cool with me…

    I would rather slap that title on the MG California or the SuperDuke 1290R Concept (that everyone here thought it was a single on crack, LMAO).

  8. David says:

    How in the hell can this be best in show without the required HOT CHICK posing next to it?

  9. Russ says:

    Having owned a motorcycle and currently a Honda Elite 110 scooter, I can tell you that my ENTIRE decision to purchase a scooter was based on practicality. I can fit about 4 bags of groceries inside, on top of, and in the footwell of that Honda, and I get about 95mpg. It is a beast for errands in the urban environment that I live. Unfortunately, even though this Vespa may beat the crap out of my Honda in the styling department, it doesn’t even come close in practicality. A true scooter rider will tell you that this Vespa would be as worthless as tits on a boar. You might as well get a crotch-rocket.

  10. Russ says:

    I would also like to add that since this scooter is 125cc, it is technically a motorcycle and not a moped, and thus, in most states you have to park it like a car and not a bicycle. Can someone please explain to me who will buy this? I bet the price will be about $2900, which is more expensive and has less practicality than just about everyone else. I wouldn’t be so down on this scooter if the author of this article wasn’t basing his entire decision on his opinion that this will bring the masses to the motorcycle industry…because it won’t. It will bring the once-a-month, “look at me, I’m urban-chic” wannabes who wobble around on two wheels and make the road more dangerous for the rest of us. Period.

  11. KSW says:

    I have to agree on this one. As it has the same storage as 90% of motorcycles made that doesn’t bother me, got back pack? College kids do and adults do to especially all over the world. IF you have a car for shopping and need a stylish hip way around for lunch with friends, visiting a friend, a meeting in an urban environment this thing works and well. I don’t see LEO’s walking up to check and see if the scooter taking up the same space on the sidewalk as a bicycle is more than 50cc. I also see quite a few MadAss 125′s in my travels and they have equal storage.

    Form really does draw in customers even those whom just never liked scooter style and this puts them over the edge to buy. Ladies and gents, there are 80 year old’s in Asia and all over the world who could out ride you and your motorcycle on that scooter in an urban environment.

    When it comes to unique styling beyond a new plastic wrapping on the same old thing this is much more than a HyperMotard with new plastics and headlight. That new Mini is really doing horrible in the market place, Not.

  12. Tyler says:

    This is beautiful, just fantastic.

    HOWEVER – Where is the storage?…. :-(

  13. Gutterslob says:

    I’m curious. What’s this stigma some of you refer to. In the circles I keep, everyone loves scooters. Heck, some of my friends keep a sccoter as a second bike, partly for the convenience, but also because they can be downright fun without having you break any speeding laws.

    As for this Vespa; I think it looks alright. Maybe not as practicle as some others, but definitely nippy.

  14. meatspin says:

    its a nice looking scooter. I’d love to own one.

    there is a stigma here for scooters, as DWI drivers who have their license taken away have to ride em. Google “liquor cycles”.

    most scooter people i see are either younger people or people who need subsistence transportation. As a motorcyclist, I can understand the passion for riding thing, but I dont meet too many of those types of riders.

  15. TexusTim says:

    um..theres not much storage I guess you wear a backpack…Id RATHER HAVE A 125 enduro with a rack on the back,lights and street tires…that might cost less and be more universal …gravel road if you need to…just more practical than a little scooter…. the little thing might good for college kids that live in a dorm near school and work.

  16. TexusTim says:

    but why in heck do you even need traction controll on an 11 hp bike..cmon thats a gimmick abs maybe but even thats a bit overblown.

  17. Wet man hole covers come to mind.

  18. AGP says:

    Complaining about the storage is completely missing the point of this machine.

    The original Vespa didn’t have any storage. What it had was a shield to protect the rider from the elements, a seated position that allowed women to ride in a dress (yes, this was very important in post WW2 Italy), it was frugal, reliable and easy to maneuver on the mostly unpaved roads of the war ravaged country. There were no helmets, so underseat storage for one was not a necessity. Amenities such as a storage box under the handlebars came later.

    This is a show bike, a tribute to the iconic original and its aesthetic and historical significance, and as such it is just about perfect.

    helmets were non existent (hence no need for under seat storage for it)… The original was a revolution in post WW2 Italy because it provided simple, affordable transportation while allowing the legs to be protected by the full shield, women to ride in a dress (yes, it was important at the time),

  19. AGP says:

    Sorry about the messed up and duplicated paragraph – my iPad must have been acting up. :)

  20. MikeD says:

    @AGP:

    WRONG…this is no show machine. This is the final product. People will get what they see here…hopefully.

  21. Mr.Truth says:

    Errrrrrrrr, WRONG!

    Best of the show was the new MV Agusta Rivale 800, AND RIGHTLY SO!