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.

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F

07/20/2010 @ 6:07 am, by Tim Hoefer8 COMMENTS

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 11 682x1024

Asphalt & Rubber was recently invited by Honda America to test ride the new 2010 Honda VFR1200F in both configurations of the standard manual-shifting model, and the all new and highly anticipated ‘automatic’ model with the dual-clutch transmission (DCT). Santa Barbara, California served as our amazing backdrop as we took to the road on the new VFR. On our first circling of the bike it did not take much time to figure out why the VFR community has nicknamed this model the ‘Buffalo’. Given it’s dominant headlight and fuel tank that carries a similar curve of a buffalo profile, the bike is however anything but ugly or slow.

We started the test ride with fellow riders from across the country that were all personally invited by Honda. It was nice to see Honda take the time to seek out individuals by researching online forums and news outlets in an effort to give the opportunity for real VFR owners and sport-touring enthusiast to ride the new VFR, and give direct unfiltered feedback back to Honda. Hosting a group comprised mostly of VFR enthusiasts, and not journalists, Honda had a rare occurrence during its Q&A session: actual questions.

Since many present were current older-model VFR owners, the questions revolved around problems that were experienced with previous generation models; questions that only riders who own the bikes, and use them as daily riders would know to ask. Accustomed to press junkets where the questions have little connection to the model line or brand, it was nice to be amongst people who were versed in the history of the VFR, and wanted assurances from Honda that previous problems were addressed in the new model.

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 15 560x373As we walked out to the parking lot it was immediately apparent that pictures hardly give justice to the VFR’s radical design, here at A&R we are use to seeing dynamic sport bikes that are always attempting to be lighter, while adding aerodynamics…bikes that take design cues from fighter jets and things that go fast. These efforts are to give the bike speed and stability while pitching deep into a turn at a track; meanwhile the first images that come to mind with sport-tourers are luggage racks and tanks. Take for example any BMW sport-tourer you have ever seen: it probably has a direct transmission that looks heavier than an entire S1000RR.

Along those lines, Honda has created a new kind of bike that looks heavy enough and durable enough to withstand trekking across the Ozarks, but they have also made a motorcycle that is sporty and light enough to carry a good clip the whole way. True to the Honda brand, the bike’s fit and finish is top quality, they have even gone to the extra mile with the VFR’s details, making sure that the fairings have no visible screw heads holding them together in their multi-layered design. It’s the little things like that which catch your attention and make you think that this is a quality product.

Taking off from the parking lot, the new VFR is incredibly easy to giddy-up. Having no problems from a stand still, the low-end torque means that you can shift right away, keeping low revs in stop-and-go traffic. This allows you to minimize shifting while keeping up with the pulse of the traffic. The VFR1200F is also deceptively quiet, you wouldn’t imagine that you have 1237cc’s at your fingertips until you wind it up under load, at which point the bike makes a fabulous noise that became addicting. Through the entire power band, the bike has no annoying vibrations in the fairings or in the handlebars thanks to the newly designed V4 motor.

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 14 560x373In the end, what do we have here? It has a spirited way of riding that we can only assume lends it to live permanently in the sport tab on Honda’s website. However, without pounding the pavement and using the VFR on an extended trek of our own we are left wondering. Can the VFR comfortably fill the saddlebags with Mountain Dew, camping gear, and perhaps the odd midget? Maybe. If Honda would lend us one to blast up the 300 miles to Monterey for the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca this weekend to find out, we would gladly answer that question for you. What we do know is that the miles would melt away without the normal lock up of the wrists and hips that we typically experience on our sport bikes, and instead we would have a grin on our faces the whole way up the California coast.

Until that time comes Honda (hint..hint..nudge..wink), we do not want to claim this as a go-to tourer quite yet, as touring requires more of a relationship with your bike that you can only experience over time. Can the new VFR comfortably shuttle you around town? Yes, and in style at that. With its unique looks and distinct V4 sound, the VFR1200F is a head turner because it isn’t your granddad’s typical bike. When riding it you don’t’ feel the heft of the almost 600 pounds of bike underneath you. What you do feel is a sense of pride in being on a bike that feels like it can conquer states and not just counties with ease.

The Honda VFR1200F is a bike that asks you to twist the throttle in a turn just to see if you can lean it over farther and go faster. While albeit it might not be aimed at the younger sport bike crowd, the veterans of the asphalt can definitely put a young squid in their place through the twisties no matter how chromed their wheels are, or how loud of an exhaust they can manage. Does that mean it is a true sport bike in the sense of track-days and canyon rides? Nope, it’s not. At its price above the famed CBR1000R, we would have a hard time labelling the VFR as being able to outperform its brother in arms. So where does the new VFR fit in the Honda lineup? Really we believe it comes down to the rider. If you have ever wanted a stylish sport bike that is fun to ride, and the traditional sport bikes doen’t fit the bill for you, then step right up, you won’t be disappointed.

Comment:

  1. Maas says:

    I think Honda must give you more time in the seat so we can compare your findings with the boys over at HFL. http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/07/honda-vfr1200f-riding-shamu-on.html

    Based on your review I will buy one and reading HFL’s review I will not.

  2. Stacy says:

    How long did you ride this bike during the test?

  3. kevin says:

    How about sharing what riding the dual clutch version was like.

  4. Ride Report: 2010 Honda VFR1200F – http://aspha.lt/16l #motorcycle

  5. jim says:

    gyroscopic origame

  6. jim says:

    gyroscopic origami

    sometimes i can spell

  7. Hmm, this test leads off with, ‘in both configurations of the standard manual-shifting model, and the all new and highly anticipated ‘automatic’ model’, so I was anticipating a full on ‘trani’ comparo by A&R, nuh. I love most things Honda and dont mind this machine, have been a bit put off by the fuel tank capacity, limited Pillion seating and that muffler in close proximity to the rhs bag, no I dont think much of the alloy protector between the two, look here… http://www.deejay51.com/superbike_expo.htm

    I hope the bike does well for Honda, maybe we can have a ‘Part 2′ from A&R, soonish…

  8. Phil Hall says:

    I’ve been following the VFR story for a couple of years now and have never once heard it called the “Buffalo”

    It IS, however, being widely nicknamed “Shamu” by the VFR cognescenti.

    :)