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.

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter

08/12/2009 @ 12:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 560x308

Asphalt & Rubber has gotten our dirty little paws on a 2009 Ducati Streetfighter for long-term review, which was a supremely poor choice according to the little old lady that gave us the bird on our first test ride out. Despite her discouraging use of the bird, we’re so far quite impressed with this spaghetti rocket. Built of the 1098 Superbike platform, the Streetfighter is true to its name, having the punch of a 155hp v-twin motor. This is the sort of bike that when you sling a leg over it, you just look down and say, “Scream if you want, no one is coming to save you.” Continue reading for our thoughts, impressions, and a few photos.

Up-close, the Streetfighter unsurprisingly shares almost all of its parts of the now retired 1098 progeny. Foreseeing the 1200cc shift in superbike racing, we can only imagine the folks in Bologna sat down and brainstormed what to do with the leftover 1098 Superbikes it wouldn’t be selling in 2009. Up the displacement on its leftover motors? Write it off as a loss? Or perhaps just one lone junior management cube dweller said the words “streetfighter” under a thinly guised cough, hoping their career didn’t just come to a crashing halt, and the idea got traction.

However it came about, the result was an eye-catching, and apparently successful product. The Streetfighter has been cleaning up this year’s Bike of the Year awards, and stole the show at last year’s EICMA, where it was debuted to the public. Besides making a motorcycle that has all the right credentials in the performance department, while also looking the part of an Italian exotic, the Streetfighter is a success in how companies approach the changing motorcycle market.

Ducati has been, and rumored to be, exploring market segments outside of the traditional boundaries. The Streetfighter is the first example we’ve seen, in a long-time, that shows a company’s willingness to watch and see how customers use their product, see what modifications those customers make to their motorcycle in order to separate themselves from the crowd, and then offer a product to fill that niche. Perhaps the next closest example is the Kawasaki Z1000, another streetfightered sportbike.

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 3a 560x374

Enough of that, how does it ride you ask? Well in the 5 days we’ve had the bike in our posession, we’ve done just over 1,000 miles on it. With a sitting position just slightly more upright than your standard sportbike, longer distances are naturally easier to undertake, but still will wear on your muscles after prolonged riding. Our blast down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara was a bearable 350 miles, but made us well aware of the fact that this is not sport-tourer, but no crotch-rocket either.

The suspension is sufficient to handle mild urban pot-holes and the rigors of highway driving, but we were curious to see how the Streetfighter would handle under more “spirited” riding conditions. Our proving grounds for that task were the twisties located just outside the sleepy town of Ojai, California, on HWY 33.

Taking the bike through its paces in the Southern California mountains proved easy to do, with the Streetfigther showing its Superbike roots by being easily to flick from side to side in the chicanes. Braking comes from radially mounted Brembos, with rubber provided by Pirelli. On just about any bike, these components will perform superbly, and on the Streetifghter it is no different. Under these more demanding conditions though, we did begin to wonder what was going on in the Bologna factory.

For a 190lbs rider, the sag will have to be adjusted, as well as the rebound. To call the rebound settings “pants-on-head-retarded” might be an understatement. We just don’t see how in any situation the settings that our bike came with could be considered a good idea. With the rebound being overly soft, and the pre-load not suited to our weight, the Streetfighter wallowed on turns when moved to roughly, which didn’t instill a tremendous amount of confidence in the rider. We wouldn’t call this a deal-breaker for the bike, more something a rider should consider adjusting once they get their hands on it.

Compression dampening, on the other hand, was more than adequate for the street, but die-hard weekend racers will want to make some adjustments for more feel on the road. Since our first service is already upon us (600 miles, second service at 7,500), we’ll have to wait until afterwards to fiddle with settings to get everything just right.

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 2a 560x375

Ducati is currently offering two deals to get people onboard: 1) Forza financing, and 2) free scheduled up to a year (or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first). Unless you have abismal credit, look for financing elsewhere. Ducati seems to think it has buyers over the barrel, and to call their rates uncompetitive would be to put things mildly. The free maintenance is a nice touch, although the Streetfighter is relatively light in the amount of time it needs to be in the shop, and the way we ride, we figure 7,500 miles will come and go well before the 1 year mark.

So far, we’re impressed with the Ducati Streetfighter. Naturally it doesn’t come out of the box custom fit to any rider, but we’re pretty confident a minimal amount of time in the garage will payoff in large dividends. We’ve also got out eye on the first set of modifications, which truly has to be the best part of motorcycle ownership. Look for future updates as we put more miles on the bike.

Comment:

  1. JennyGun, that is one sic looking bike, and some great shots. I miss walking back over that bridge on Ortega coming home from downtown. Hilarious article, as usual. Cheers!

  2. Lily Boys says:

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  3. John Adamo says:

    Score! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter – http://bit.ly/QbXJl #motorcycle

  4. Marc says:

    Nice review, but you give the streetfighter WAY too much credit for being the first of it’s kind. Aside from the Z1000, the Tuono, Brutale, Street and Speed Triples are all textbook examples of factory streetfighters, and the FZ1-E, CB1000, and B-King are pretty close as well.

    Not to take anything away from Ducati design, engineering, or marketing… but let’s be fair to history and the other makes.

  5. meatspin says:

    i love stacked, double cans.