Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned. The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them. The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils. Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

Mega Gallery: 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

Not only does the FIM EWC showcase several manufacturers, with strong race-winning potential each of the championship’s multiple iconic events, but it the series is the last great venue for a proper battle between the different tire brands. Add to that the fact that the Endurance World Championship is comprised not only of endurance specialists, but also with some of the top names from motorcycle racing, both in factory and satellite teams, and it’s easy to find a reason to cheer for a particular entry. The best part though might be the photography that comes from motorcycle racing, which often spans from daylight and into the darkness of night. This year’s 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans event was no different, and we have a bevy of photos to share with you from France.

At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

US Senate Establishes Motorcycle Caucus

The motorcycle industry has found more allies on Capital Hill this week, with the creation of the first “motorcycle caucus” in the United States Senate. Established so motorcycle manufacturers and motorcyclists would have a greater voice in the upper chamber of the American legislature, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus is the work of Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Motorcyclists typically aren’t single-issue voter – not for issues pertaining to motorcycles, at least – but with several important political issues currently affecting the motorcycle industry, the formation of the Senate Motorcycle Caucus comes at an advantageous time.

Effenbert Liberty Returns to World Superbike with Mark Aitchison and a Ducati Superbike 1098R

04/05/2013 @ 5:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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After very publicly imploding part-way through the 2012 season with its four-rider team, which included a dust-up between the Czech team and French Rider Sylvain Guintoli, it would seem that Team Effenbert Liberty Racing is ready to give things another go, though on a much smaller scale.

Accordingly, after missing the season-opener at Phillip Island, Liberty Racing will once again compete in the World Superbike Championship, and plans to campaign the rest of the 2013 season with Mark Aitchison on a Ducati Superibke 1098R.

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Recall: 2010 Ducati Streetfighter and 2009 Ducati 1098R/1198S Superbikes

10/08/2009 @ 3:50 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Recall: 2010 Ducati Streetfighter and 2009 Ducati 1098R/1198S Superbikes

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Ducati is recalling 753 Streetfighters, 1098R’s, and 1198S’s Superbikes because of a potential fuel hose clamp issue. The recall affects only 2010 Streetfighters and 2009 Superbikes, and if left unresolved could result in the bike stalling from the lack of fuel, and potentially starting a fire.

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Martini Racing Ducati 1098: Something New, Something Old

07/06/2009 @ 8:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

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We love the old 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s race cars here at A&R, and when we saw this Ducati 1098S done up in the Martini Racing livery, we were just smitten with the result. This particular bike was made right here in northern California, by a local dealership, Hattar Motorsports. Be sure to stop by there when you place an order for your new NCR Corse Millona.

Getting both shiny and go-fast parts, the Martini 1098 would be all the rage at your local track day…if you could part with it from your living room…you know, where’d you’d have it as a conversation piece.

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Ducati Streetfighter Has First Recall

06/03/2009 @ 10:08 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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Ducati has issued a recall for a number of its 2009 1198cc motored models that have the upgraded Öhlins suspension. Specifically the recall affects the 2009 1098R, 1198S, and Streetfighter S. Ducati is issuing the recall because of possible cracking in the lower pinch bolt area of the right fork. This defect affects 732 units sold in the United States.

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Shakey Byrne’s BSB Ducati For Sale

12/20/2008 @ 10:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Shakey Byrne’s BSB Ducati For Sale

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Shane “Shakey” Byrne’s 1098R is up for sale. That’s right, if you’ve got £80,000 you can own one of the Ducati’s that won the 2008 British Superbike Series. An outfit called GSE Racing has put Byrne’s race bike up for sale alongside two of Leon Camier’s bikes. In addition to these bikes, a spares package of £150,000 is also up for grabs, and the first £350,000 takes it all. It’s really almost everything you need to start your own BSB bid….minus Shakey himself of course.

The three bikes are for sale at £80,000 each. If your interested, you can call GSE at 01283-532543.

Recall: Ducati 1098 and 848 Superbikes

12/10/2008 @ 12:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

7,130 Ducati Superbikes are being recalled because of voltage regulators that could be damaged from the mighty v-twins radiant heat. Ducati 1098 and 848 owners will have to take their bike into the dealer to have the regulator replaced, a heat shield installed between the voltage regulator and the exhaust pipping, and have a new battery support installed. 

This recall specifically affects:

2007-2008 Ducati 1098
2007-2008 Ducati 1098S
2007-2008 Ducati 1098 R
2007-2008 Ducati 1098 Tricolore
2008-2009 Ducati 848

Owners can contact Ducati North America at 1-800-231-6696, with recall reference number: RCL-08-005. As always, you can contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or visit safecar.gov.