The Next, Next Big Thing in Motorcycles: Haptic Feedback

We are at an interesting point in time for motorcycles, namely because the technological landscape for the transportation sector is shifting radically. Long-time readers of Asphalt & Rubber will note some of the issues at play here, namely autonomous vehicles, rider aids, and vehicle interconnectivity. Over the next few weeks I want to revisit those items in more depth and detail, with a series that focuses on emerging technologies that are either already permeating into our two-wheeled lifestyle, or will be hitting the motorcycle industry over the next decade or so. But before I tackle the more obvious items on this list, I want to invest some words on a lesser-known technological innovation, which has the potential to be the next, “next big thing” in the motorcycle industry.

You Already Want This Honda Grom Race Bike from HRC

Understanding one’s lust for a Honda Grom is a lot like explaining good pornography: it is difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it. That idea encapsulates everything you need to know about Honda’s monkey bike. We can’t tell you why you want one, we just know that you do. Honda’s sales on the Grom back that notion up, as well. Beyond being just an adorable grocery-getter, we are seeing a plethora of Groms at the race track – and not just as pit bikes. Grom racing is becoming a thing, with more than a few minimoto series making spec-classes for Honda Grom racers, or including them in their 150cc programs. To that end, Honda’s racing department, HRC, has the Grom that you want – nay – need. Behold, the Honda Grom race bike from HRC.

Honda CBR250RR Headlight Spotted in Patents

We are literally marking time until Big Red debuts the Honda CBR250RR, the sportier sibling to the Honda CBR250R, which should rev to the moon and make more power with its two-cylinder engine. We have seen the prototype of the Honda CBR250RR already at trade shows, and the new CBR250RR is definitely on the edgier side of things, which is surprising coming the ever-conservative minds at Honda. How much of the edgy design will remain in the production version has yet to be seen, but we do have our first glimpse of some of the machine. The headlight shape has been filed with European patent offices, which is sort of a weird thing to be reporting on, but it does show insight into where Honda is headed.

Could BMW Be Working on an XDiavel Killer?

Here’s some more BMW Motorrad speculation for your two-wheeled consumption, as Germany’s Motorrad Magazine says that BMW is looking to take on the Ducati XDiavel, with a power cruiser model of its own. This of course isn’t the first time that BMW has included a cruiser-styled motorcycle in its lineup, with the BMW R1200C being a unique, though slightly odd, offering to the cruiser demographic. Like Ducati, BMW seems to be learning from its mistakes in going after the cruiser crowd, and instead of offering a motorcycle that is BMW’s take on the cruiser concept, they are building a cruiser that has cues back to the BMW lineup. A subtle but potent distinction. Time will tell on how this rumor plays out, though there are number of interesting things to consider with a BMW power cruiser.

Yamaha Tracer 700 Sport-Tourer Debuts for Europe

There are two big things to note with the debut of the Yamaha Tracer 700 in Europe today. One, Yamaha firmly believes in the future of the sport-touring segment; and two, the Japanese brand is getting excellent mileage out of its three-cylinder and two-cylinder machines that comprise its new FZ/MT line of motorcycles. As such, the Yamaha Tracer 700 offers to be a fun and affordable machine for those riders who find themselves many miles down the road after a “spirited” ride. With bike sales in Europe finally on an upward trend, Yamaha hopes that the release of the Tracer 700 is well-timed, and of course the brand has more models in the works that are based on the same 689cc parallel-twin power plant.

Is BMW Working on 300cc GS Model?

When the BMW G310R arrived, the German brand indicated that the small-displacement street bike would be the first of many model based on the 313cc platform. Now it seems that the first iteration is ready to drop, with news that BMW Motorrad is working on a G310R-based adventure-touer model. According to Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, BMW Motorrad UK’s Director Phil Horton has confirmed that a BMW G310GS model will debut, perhaps in time for the 2017 model year, saying “new models aside, the line-up isn’t as comprehensive as it needs to be. But there are plenty more bikes to come, including, hopefully in 2017, a G310R GS-style derivative.” The idea of small-displacement ADV machine does mimic what we have been seeing from other brands.

EPA Withdraws Racing Emissions Proposal

If you have a modified track-only motorcycle, then we have some news to share that you will enjoy, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn proposed language that would have specifically given it the ability to regulate the emissions of production vehicles that were being used at track days or similar events. The proposed rule caused quite a storm in automotive enthusiast circles, as it would have affected racing and recreational uses of products that have been sold under “race use only” provisions for years. Of course, the larger issue at stake here was the continued selling of race parts to street enthusiasts. Still, since it is hard to find a motorcycle on the road these days that hasn’t seen its emissions equipment modified, it doesn’t surprise us to see the backlash coming from the motorcycling community.

Honda Halts Operations at Its Kumamoto Factory After Earthquakes Strike Japan

If you have been following mainstream news, you will know that the Pacific Rim has been active with earthquake activity these past few days. In addition to the devastating movements in Ecuador, Japan has been rocked by a series of earthquakes as well, two of which have centered on the Kumamoto prefecture of the country. If that names sounds familiar to motorcycle enthusiasts, it is because Kumamoto is Honda’s mothership for motorcycle production. As such, Honda is halting the operations of its Kumamoto factory, thru the rest of this week (ending April 22, 2016). Honda says that its subsequent production plans will be determined according to facility restorations and component supply.

Lorenzo To Ducati: Why It Happened & What Happens Next

In case you missed it, Jorge Lorenzo has signed with Ducati Corse for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP World Championship seasons. It is not so much that team bosses never appear in pre-event press conferences, but rather that such appearances are vanishingly rare, and often momentous. If Jarvis is not there to discuss Lorenzo’s move to Ducati, then something has gone very awry indeed. We have been here before, of course. When Valentino Rossi finally announced he would be moving to Ducati in 2010, a similar procedure was adopted. So taking account of the lessons from that move, and of Rossi’s return to Yamaha, let us gaze into our crystal ball and see what we can expect for the upcoming days.

It’s Official, Jorge Lorenzo Will Race with Ducati Corse

As expected, the announcement dropped today that Jorge Lorenzo will be leaving the Movistar Yamaha team at the end of this season, for a new racing opportunity with Ducati Corse. Details are light at this time, mostly because of Lorenzo’s ongoing contract with Yamaha Racing for the rest of the MotoGP season, but we do know that the Spaniard has inked a two-year with the Italian outfit. Lorenzo’s move to Ducati will mean a cascade of changes in the MotoGP paddock, with the next phase of the silly season process likely to focus on who will replace him as Valentino Rossi’s teammate. Good money is on Maverick Viñales, but as we pointed out in the latest Paddock Pass Podcast episode, Suzuki has redoubled its efforts to retain the young Spanish rider.

Recall: 2010 MV Agusta F4

04/15/2011 @ 11:36 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

MV Agusta is recalling 211 of its 2010 MV Agusta F4 superbikes again, this time for a faulty subframe design. According to the statement issued by the NHTSA, the MV Agusta F4’s rear subframe could crack or break because of the upper fixture points not being “robust” enough. This problem creates a safety issue for a rider and passenger, who could find their stability on the motorcycle compromised under such a situation.

2010 MV Agusta F4’s Recalled for Faulty Air Filter

06/23/2010 @ 3:58 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MV Agusta is recalling 66 new 2010 MV Agusta F4 superbikes for a faulty air filter frame that may become loose, and allow materials to bypass the filter element. The possible result is debris entering the throttle bodies, which could damage the assembly, and cause the motor to seize. This recall only affects F4’s manufactured between February 10th to April 19th, 2010.

2010 MV Agusta F4 Pricing at $18,500 MSRP

06/22/2010 @ 3:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

MV Agusta USA has announced that pricing for the 2010 MV Agusta F4 superbike will be set at $18,500 MSRP. MV hopes that his price point will make the bike a competitive entry in the US market, and is aimed squarely at the Ducati 1198S ($21,795) and Aprilia RSV4 Factory ($20,999) on price, while still offering a bike with traction control and adjustable engine maps (not to mention 186hp) at a lower price point than the two other Italian brands.

MV Agusta Claims 50% Boost in Sales

03/26/2010 @ 2:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MV Agusta has issued a press release stating that the Italian brand has seen a 50% increase in unit sales the last three months when compared to the first quarter of 2009. Unfortunately Asphalt & Rubber has no way of verifying if these numbers are accurate, but their release is certainly well-timed with the added talk in the business world surrounding MV Agusta’s divesture from Harley-Davidson.

Was Harley able to turn the brand around? Are the new F4 and Brutale selling like hotcakes? Or is this carefully seeded information to help a deal along? Only time will tell. Photos of the new MV’s after the jump.

Repent Sinners At the Altar of the MV Agusta

12/13/2009 @ 2:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

MV-Agusta-Repent-Sinners

After spending time in Italy, it’s clear that there is some sort of connection between the country’s culture and motorcycling, which in Milan manifested itself as a physical calling. Italians seem incapable of simply just looking at a motorcycle, with many of our shots ruined by a hand grabbing of a tail section, or someone swinging a leg over a bike. Clearly, motorcycling is more than just a passive relationship here in Italy.

In just a few short hours, it’s already become clear that many of you are viewing the “Girls of EICMA” post earlier today, so we thought we’d conclude our coverage of EICMA with an opportunity this Sunday to repent. Bless me father, for I’ve bought a Honda. Be sure to check out the Carbon/Italian F4, and others after the jump.

VIDEO: Larceny and the MV Agusta F4

12/01/2009 @ 2:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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Obviously when you’re debuting a new motorcycle, you have to come up with some sort of video to promote the bike’s launch, but what do you include in the video? Close-ups of the bike? Yes. Tall and leggy blonde vixens? Of course. Multiple shots of the bike on a desolate track doing its thing? Naturally. A little B&E action? Yea…wait, what?!?

We don’t understand this video from MV Agusta, but it does seem to have a bit more plot than some of other online movies we’ve been seeing lately. Click past the jump for a heist adventure MV-style.

MV Agusta Corse Shows Off Carbon F4 at EICMA

11/20/2009 @ 2:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

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For a company with only a handful of models in its 2010 line of motorcycles, MV Agusta sure did take up a large plot of land at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy this last week. To help promote and show-off the MV Agusta Corse line of aftermarket and racing parts, MV put together this sinister looking carbon fiber F4. Photos and more after the jump.

2010 MV Agusta F4 Breaks Cover at EICMA

11/09/2009 @ 6:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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The 2010 MV Agusta F4 has been hyped extensively by MV, but after seeing the Brutale release, we were skeptical about what the new F4 would bring. Expectedly, the 2010 MV Agusta F4 is based of Massimo Tamburini’s iconic design, and is updated to fit more with modern tastes. But MV has also changed the bike underneath the hood. More on that, photos, and technical specifications after the jump.

2010 MV Agusta F4 Teaser Video

11/04/2009 @ 7:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

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It’s less than a week from the unveiling of the 2010 MV Agusta F4, and already we’ve been teased with a photo of the front of the motorcycle, and a render of its rear. Helping to fan the fire to the ungoing hype that’s surrounded the new F4, MV Agusta has released a teaser video that shows the bike off even more. Video after the jump.

EICMA: 2010 MV Agusta F4 Details Continue to Build Up the 186hp Hype Machine

11/02/2009 @ 5:27 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

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In exactly one week’s time, A&R will be toughing it out in the harsh Milanese winter, sipping our cappucino, while MV Agusta shows us the latest iteration of their F4 Superbike. After releasing photos of the new 2010 MV Agusta Brutale, and teasing us with the front-view of the F4, we were a little worried the design of the new MV flagship (rendered above) was going to be a little stale. Will the new MV live up to the hyperbole? Only time will tell. Rumored bike details after the jump.