MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

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.

Kawasaki Tests Costco Sales Program

01/04/2011 @ 2:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Kawasaki Tests Costco Sales Program costco kawasaki 635x421

Wholesale discounter Costco might be one of the great staples of free-market capitalism, allowing Americans to buy beef jerky in convenient seven gallon portions throughout the seasons (because you need that much jerky in your diet America). Steadfast to the rule that more must be better, it excites us to find out that Kawasaki has been testing a program since November with Costco, which sees the Japanese bike maker selling its motorcycles through 15 Southern California Costco warehouse stores. Taking place in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, several Kawasaki dealerships have been working with local Costco stores on the pilot grogram, which includes having a Kawasaki motorcycle on display (starting with Team Green’s KX dirt bikes) at the Costco stores, along with other promotional materials.

The pilot program, which is being setup by Affinity Development for the Costco Auto Program (you’ve seen their work if you’ve noticed a car from a local dealer on display outside the Costco entrance), is the end result of over four years of effort by Affinity in enticing established motorcycle OEMs to try alternate points-of-sale besides the dealer’s showroom.

Despite Team Green being the only OEM to consider trying the program, there still seems to be ample push-back from Kawasaki on letting the program go full-bore. For instance, should a Costco member be interested in purchasing a motorcycle, they would have to call a number that would then refer them to their closest Kawasaki dealership.

Once the customer goes to the dealer, they flash their Costco membership card, and are given a pre-determined reduced price on their Kawasaki motorcycle purchase. Costco is helping lubricate the deal by offering a $250 Costco cash card to buyers if they fill out some additional paperwork. Kawasaki dealers are also offering a 20% discount on parts, accessories, and apparel to help sweeten the sale.

While the process still seems a bit convoluted and needs some streamlining, the selling potential for Kawasaki could be huge with this program going nationwide. Costco’s Auto Program has already proven itself to be a boon with car and boat sales. Boat maker Sea Ray has been partnering with Costco for over a year now, and seen over $120 million in sales in that timeframe (50% of sales were reportedly by people not in the market for a boat, with an additional 22.5% in the market only for another brand).

Similar success has been seen with Volvo, who has used Costo warehouses extensively for automobile sales, with the warehouse store accounting for 40% of models sales on specifically promoted cars. The key to this success is not only the high volume of traffic that goes through Costco’s doors, but also the company’s up-market and affluent demographic, which sees a $102,000 year median income in its membership.

Kawasaki is set to evaluate the program’s success at the end of this month, and at that point will make a decision as to whether to try and roll the program out nationwide. Initial dealer responses seem to be positive, and we imagine that with further refinement to the buying process, the number of additional sales could greatly be expanded upon.

The idea of using chain brand mega-stores is not a new one to the motorcycle industry, as we’ve already seen the concept used as a core component to Brammo Inc.’s initial sales strategy, which used several Best Buy locations on the west coast as its point-of-sale. The real power of chains like Costco and Best Buy resides in the fact that not only do a lot of consumers enter these stores’ doors everyday, but because they are mainstream brands, it means that manufacturers will get an opportunity to have non-motorcyclists thinking about a motorcycle purchase. Hopefully Kawasaki will stop thinking like a traditionally stodgy Japanese manufacturer, and see the value in this outside-of-the-box thinking, and how it could not only bolster sales, but indoctrinate new buyers into the motorcycle market.

Source: Dealer News

Comment:

  1. Doctor Jelly says:

    I do love my Costco! Apple gets the finger and Kawi gets embraced!

    36 pack of toilet paper? Check. 4 pack of pizza? Check. 5 pack of ZX10R? Yeah!

    If the system proves successful, wonder how long it’ll take before we have Kirkland branded bikes…?

  2. Shaitan says:

    Craziness, but whatever improves moto sales and also public excitement/exposure.

  3. Tom says:

    Why not? Costco sells Porsches in Mexico. If Kawasaki can increase sales, good for them.

  4. 76 says:

    I think exposure like that is awesome for Kawasaki. Bikes are infectious, the more they get in front of people in a setting like that the better.

  5. Sean in Oz says:

    Expect a flood of second hand zx10r parts.

  6. Ken says:

    I love Costco and I am not over weight.
    I wish this would be available on the east coast so I could buy a bike thru Costco .I bought my latest car thru Costco and had a great experience.

  7. TomC says:

    I bet the local dealers are thrilled. Wonder what kind of break Costo will give on parts and service.

  8. The dealers are thrilled, they get the sale. Costco is basically supplying them with leads, not handling the actual sale, the parts, or the service.

  9. TomC…the participating dealers are also offering 20% off P&S. A bike purchase is not required

  10. bruce armstrong says:

    Porsche tried this twenty years ago…..they were going to sell the cars and let the dealers service them……there was a revolution — dealers protecting their franchise agreements. Don’t expect to see this in California were dealer franchise laws are ‘in stone’ …. Bruce

  11. cory says:

    There is no discount on service but you can get 20% parts, accessories and appearal just for being a Costco member!

  12. jim says:

    Bruce…this is where the confusion often evidences itself.Note Jensons comment at 9:37
    Costco refers the Member to the dlr. Costco is not a broker. The dlr conducts all sales aspects…walk around, features and benefits, financing, warranty submission and delivery.
    There are no franchise issues involved.
    Costco is not selling the units – Costco is displaying them to promote the referral to the dlr…Costco only displays in whse’s in a dlrs PMA.
    The display is to inform the Member that such an association w/ a participating dlr exists.

  13. MikeD says:

    How is it that i goes ?…. There’s no such thing as TOO MUCH or BAD PUBLICITY ? , Someone correct me if im wrong. lol. If it helps Big KHI on improving sales on the U.S.A….HEY, nothing wrong with that.

  14. Singletrack says:

    But what does Costco and Affinity get out of it? If the dealer gets the sale Kawi must be paying Costco for every lead/sale. Costco’s not doing it out of the goodness of their heart.

    This goes along with the current big box mentality that dealers offer little to no value. Motorcycles (like computers) are pretty much disposable anyway. If you crash it, or it breaks, buy a new one because it’s too expensive to repair.

  15. Keep in mind these bikes are not on isle 11. Notice that you have to call a 1-800 number to get the information of a local dealership. This is nothing more than Kawi paying advertising fees to Costco, and that’s what Costco is getting out of the deal. In most aspects, it is similar to a sponsorship.

    I think it’s a smart move by Kawasaki. That have slowly been targeting big (or at least popular) businesses and getting exposure from them. BMW has the Ca Superbike school and Kawasaki now has…well, Costco.