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 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.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Ride Review: KTM 1290 Super Duke R

10/21/2013 @ 3:31 pm, by Iwan van der Valk17 COMMENTS

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Attending KTM’s launch of the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R in Spain, or friend Iwan van der Valk from has been kind enough to share his thoughts and review regarding Austria’s newest hooligan machine.

Getting a chance to put the KTM 1290 Super Duke R through its paces on the road as well as the track at Ascari, we are supremely jealous of Iwan’s experience. Hopefully KTM USA will let Asphalt & Rubber have a turn on the 1290 Super Duke R soon. – Jensen

For 2014, KTM is launching the third model of the Super Duke line, which they have been selling since 2005 (note: KTM mentions it’s the fourth edition because of the small upgrade in 2011).

The new KTM 1290 Super Duke R has a brand new 1,301 cc v-twin engine, that delivers a huge amount of horsepower (180bhp) and a mountain of torque (106 lbs•ft). The 1290 Super Duke R only weighs 417 lbs dry.

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The previous iterations of the LC8-lump were always hampered with a difficult throttle response. According to KTM, this part-throttle behaviour has been reworked extensively on the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, and we have to agree it does feel fine now, apart from a minimal on-off reaction when you first open the throttle mid-corner.

Overall though, we like the driveability of the ride-by-wire system. The big v-twin sounds amazing and runs so smoothly that you can use a broad RPM range in any gear, although you do need to stay above 4,000 rpm to avoid bucking.

Above that the engine truly is a beast: turn the traction control off and it’s simply impossible to keep the front wheel down in the first 3 gears. In fourth, fifth, or sixth, a tiny crest in the road will result into a power-wheelie. KTM definitely didn’t lie when they christened this bike as ‘The Beast’: the 1290 Super Duke R is faster, stronger, wilder than you can imagine.

It is however geared too long. At freeway speeds in 6th, the engine is lugging along as it sits below 4,000 rpm, and doesn’t feel particularly happy about it. You really don’t need more than 4 gears on public roads unless of course you are addicted to prison speeds. Gearing The Beast shorter however doesn’t seem like a valid solution because of the enormous power that’s available.

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This is where KTM’s state-of-the-art electronics package, a modern Bosch ABS and traction control system, comes into play. It should be noted that these systems are not the same as the ones on the KTM 1190 Adventure, which means that KTM will not be offering the recently flaunted Bosch MSC stability system on the big Duke.

The ABS system is different from most other sport bikes too, in that it works fine on the street, but on track it seems that you can get the most out of the brakes by disabling the ABS altogether. Even in its sports setting, the ABS system comes in too quickly on track. It’s probably more a gimmick than anything else, but experienced riders can also choose a ‘supermoto’ setting for the ABS, which allows you to slide the rear tire.

The Bosch Traction Control on the other hand is fantastic. The rough asphalt of the Spanish mountain passes didn’t phase the 180 hp / 106 lbs•ft bike at all as the system worked overtime on the broken surface. At first this felt a bit awkward, but soon you gain full-confidence in the electronics.

The system worked just as brilliantly on the Ascari track: we could see the TC light coming on in the 90° left-hander, but we couldn’t feel the system working at all, and the Super Duke R stayed perfectly stable.

The only downside of this electronics package is the irritating way of turning it off and on. You have to push a button for 5 seconds ,while being stationary, which means that you can’t make any changes on-the-fly and react quickly to changing conditions.

KTM says that they have done this for safety reasons, but this doesn’t seem to add up with their ‘ready to race’ image, and the simple fact of introducing a 180 horsepower bike into the market.

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The Brembo M50 monoblocs already proved themselves on other bikes, like the Ducati 1199 Panigale, and they are no different on the 1290 Super Duke. The braking power is immense, but you get so much feedback and feel from the system that you never lose confidence in the front. You can execute emergency stops on loose surfaces without fear of lowsiding.

The comfortable seating position really adds to this feeling of total control with a great stock seat and a gentle knee-angle to the pegs . Shifting gears is very easy, although we did get a couple of false neutrals on the rough twisting roads, most probably because of the hectic riding conditions and dodgy roads during the test.

The all-new trellis frame is suspended – as always with KTM – by high quality WP elements. The front forks each have separate damping controls, meaning that one leg controls the rebound, while the other one takes care of the compression damping.

All in all, there’s more flex in this chassis than you would encounter on a superbike —  this is not a hot rod RC8 without fairings. When riding fast, the bike moves around quite a bit and in these extreme conditions it feels nice to have a steering damper as a fail safe.

The flexibility does take some getting used to, but you definitely gain confidence after a while. On public roads there’s plenty of ground clearance, but on track our toesliders got a good workout. The race-version we tried had much more ground clearance for this exact reason.

The performance of the front end was somewhat hit and miss however. The Dunlop Sportsmart2 tires gave full confidence at one point while lacking grip a little while later. According to KTM no changes were done to the bikes, so we don’t really know why the front-end feedback and grip was so changeable.

The rear suspension is of a beautiful single-sided construction, which always feels stable, tight, confident, and perfectly in control thanks to the traction control system.

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The KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a quality product: the fit and finish looks wonderful except for the contrasting cheap looking exhaust system. Of course KTM likes you to solve this issue by buying a full Akrapovic system…very expensive but then again, it promises an extra 12 horses.

The headlight with striking LED daytime running lights is mounted very low on the forks and takes some getting used to visually. It turns on and off automatically and we still feel that the rider should control this but luckily this setup doesn’t flicker as nervously as the Adventure headlight.

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Priced at €17,599 in Europe (not pricing is available in the USA yet), the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is a hell of a lot of money for a naked bike. For that amount we feel that KTM should have thrown in some carbon bits and a better race-ABS system.

But all-in-all this brand new 1290 Super Duke R doesn’t have any real flaws (apart from the MTC and ABS controls). This bike delivers what’s been promised: a insane streetfighter with an obscene amount of power, controlled to be enjoyed to the fullest.

You can ask yourself if all this power is really necessary, but in practice, the huge and addictive wave of torque gives you riding pleasure few bikes can match: powering this beast out of corners feels fantastic, over and over again. It has more power than you’ll ever need or want.

The commanding seating position and the wild ride nicely finish off the concept of this big ballsy naked. Just try to keep your licence, if at all possible.

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Photos: KTM

A special “dankuwel” to our friends at for sharing this article with us, and big thank you as well to Jan DeMan, who translated Iwan’s work from Dutch into English for our readers.


  1. luke says:

    €17,599?? Sweet Jesus, I wonder what astronomical price it will end up with when it gets to Australia.

  2. AK says:

    I was expecting it to be around 15K-16K. damn it …. I guess tuano V4 now.

  3. Mormont says:

    Really wanted to pick one of these up but for (my guess) $17K-18K US, no thanks.

  4. frod04 says:

    when I first saw the concept it looked fantastic, the production version looks FUGLY and at 17k looks FUGLIER NOW.

  5. That’s 192 hp with the good exhaust system, which means after a little mapping and better plugs, it should be easy enough to get 200hp and 110 lb/ft of torque on pump gas, then add some 104 to 112 race fuel and you’re riding a demon straight from hell. And I don’t even want to think about what could be achieved by a serious reworking of the motor.

    Aaron like! :-)

  6. Ian says:

    Yep Luke i was expecting near vertical pricing, and as such will be applied in OZ.
    I bet with the Akra can the price will push near 30k AUD.
    Price here was crazy for the RC8, this is typical.


  7. Tom says:

    I would love to own a KTM Enduro EXC or Super Duke some day but as the phrase goes: KTM = “Kost Too Much”

  8. Brian stevens says:

    The 690 Duke will do me just fine.

  9. Jerry says:

    All that technology comes at a price! If they don’t do it the industry will shun the bike for not having it! So they include it which drives the price way up! It’s like cant I get a Ktoom 350 something dirt bike new for less than 9 grand??!!

  10. Dustin says:

    Typical internet moaning.

    The (non) buying public won’t be happy until they have a sport bike with the ergos of a Goldwing that weighs 150 lbs wet with a 400 mile range and a 250 cc motor that revs to 25,000 RPM and has 100 lb-ft of torque and has soul and is $2000 but is built in America and blessed by the pope. Oh and it has to have MotoGP suspension with a full electronics package (but no electronics at all) and come with free tires for life and 30,000 mile service intervals and they pay YOU to change the oil which you’ll do every 2000 miles because you only ride that much in a year.

  11. You’ll notice you never see Iwan’s face. That’s because he’s really a test dummy….. just look at his helmet.

  12. A says:

    +1 Dustin

    All I have to say to all the potential “super-naked” buyers out there (like me), the 2013 Milan show will be something to see. 2014 looks like the year of the super-naked bikes! 3 more weeks I think! And yes, I will attend from my chair through this website. Jensen, we’re counting on you! :0) Sweet site BTW, been here since ’08 keep it up!

  13. Ian says:

    Take the blanket off “your” bike and go for a ride. Or have a Snickers.
    The Buying public choose to be cynical, because its our right.
    We are motorcycle enthusiasts, some purists.
    My bike is no garage sleeper, i hit the hills, commute, high km’s. So i command better and the best for my buck.
    If it not good enough ill moan, if its too dear, ill moan.
    We just hope that manufactures read high quality websites like this and take on the feedback.
    Yes, aged Suzuki and sans V4 Honda. I be pointing at you.
    KTM, please drop pricing so everyone can afford / justify a new ride and make big titty V-twin noise!!!!

  14. hipsabad says:

    How can KTM drop the price when they keep making (along with all the other manufacturers gone mad) bikes that are increasingly unrealistic. Case in point: BIKE magazine in Britain did an article a few years back, wherein they took a bunch of talented riders out on the road, and on the track and had them ride some big, powerful bikes. They also rigged up an instrument to give them precise throttle opening readings. at all times. Lo and behold, according to the instrument’s readings these riders rarely used the bike to even half its potential. But luckily, we now have bikes where talented riders (to say nothing of the average rider) can use maybe a third the potential power. With more technical development and more sophisticated, expensive machines we can always hope to get it down to a quarter sometime in the future. Onward, hubris.

  15. Jake318 says:

    The KTM LC8 V-Twin is a race engineers dream that has been an under achiever due to lack of race development. Yes KTM has participated in the German Superbike and AMA Superbike series. But there effort in these series was more like a well funded privateer level team than a a full fledged factory effort.
    KTM has shown that they can be a technical powerhouse creating the most powerful 250cc engine in Moto3
    (and there where around 5 F1 engineering firms and HONDA developing A 250ccMoto3 engine) and a very powerful V-5 MotoGP engine for Kenny Roberts racing team in the days of 990cc MotoGP Machines.
    This 1290cc naked bike seems like an answer to a question no one ever asked ?
    KTM would have gotten much more notoriety if they fulfilled the ..RACE READY ..promise/ad campaign and turned the RC8R Superbike into the world beater/ Ducati beater that it was supposed to be from the start.

  16. Hagbard Celine says:

    Anyone dyno this thing yet? The quoted figures are always over-estimated or taken at the crank or drive sprocket.

  17. KARL KNUDSON says: