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.

Bimota DB8 – “Entry Level” Biposto Sportbike

01/15/2010 @ 12:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Bimota has pulled a fast one on us all with their unveiling of the new Bimota DB8 sportbike. Instead of releasing what was expected to be a naked version of the DB7, the Italian brand has instead taken the DB8 in a new direction.

With a biposto (two-seat) configuration, and cheaper price tag, Bimota hopes the DB8 will serve as the brand’s entry level motorcycle instead of the Ducati Streetfighter killer we thought it would be. Pictures, technical specs, and more after the jump.

Bimota DB8 – 1098 Naked Bike Coming Friday

01/13/2010 @ 8:54 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

UPDATE: Click here for the release of the 2010 Bimota DB8.

Italian manufacturer Bimota believes they have the perfect bike to take on the Ducati Streetfighter, and it’s called the DB8. Scheduled to be unveiled at the Verona Motor Bike Expo this coming Friday, the DB8 (artist’s sketch above) is reported to be the sister bike of the Bimota DB7. While both bikes will use the Ducati 1098 Evoluzione motor, the DB8 will do it sans clothing, and with at least 155hp on board.

John Hopkins Signs with FB Corse MotoGP Team

12/21/2009 @ 5:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

MotoGP new comer FB Corse has announced that they’ve signed John Hopkins to their 2010 season debut. When FB Corse first hit our radar back in September, the new MotoGP team stated that they had not secured a rider, but were keen on signing American John Hopkins to their racing efforts.

After things fell silent on the Italian front, we broke the news that John Hopkins has since been in talks about a possible ride in the AMA Pro Racing series with Pat Clark Motorsports. It would seem that PCM’s AMA Deathstar will have to go on hold for now, as FB Corse has officially announced that Hopper will be riding with them next year. Hopper will join the FB Corse team in Milan on January 21st for the team’s official presentation.

BMW Recalls Over 2000 K-Series Motorcycles

12/12/2009 @ 4:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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BMW is recalling over 2000 K1300S & K13ooGT motorcycles, from the 2009 & 2010 model years, because of a possible issue with their fueling system, which may lead to the motorcycles stalling during operation. When fueled with poor quality gasoline, the throttle bodies on the K-bikes run the risk of becoming clogged with small deposits, which could lead to the motor stalling.

Canadian Superbike Championship Bans 2010 Yamaha’s from Racing – Makes DMG Look Good

12/10/2009 @ 6:02 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

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We here in the United States have a hard enough time dealing with the antics of the Batman and Robin duo that is DMG and the AMA, but our Canadian brothers to the north have their own issues to deal with as well. In a surprising announcement, Canadian Superbike Championship has announced that it has banned the the entire 2010 Yamaha line from racing in its various series, while any year Yamaha YZF-R1 has been banned from the Canadian Pro Superbike class. More after the jump.

Triumph Thruxton Cafe Racer Special Edition

12/10/2009 @ 12:11 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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If you’re into the Triumph Thruxton’s look, then you’ll love what the British company has waiting for you. Available in July of 2010, The Triumph Thruxton Cafe Racer Special Edition take the classic Thruxton look, and spices it up with red/white/black look that pops out at you. Photos and more after the jump.

2010 Honda VFR1200F US MSRP Set at $15,999

12/07/2009 @ 1:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

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A few weeks ago we announced that the Honda VFR1200F would cost nearly €15,000 in the European market, and speculated that the price here in the US would be $15,000 +/- about a grand. Well it looks like we were right, as American Honda Motors has announced that the base model 2010 Honda VFR1200F will come with an MSRP of $15,999.

Recall: 2010 Buell XB12X/T

12/07/2009 @ 11:40 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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If you’re one of the few people who managed to get their hands on 2010 model year Buell XB12X or XB12XT, you may also be 1 of the 23 owners affected by Buell’s recall for the bikes’ incorrectly manufactured right-hand side footpeg.

MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR from EICMA

12/06/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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As we wind down our EICMA coverage, we present to you the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR. Like the 990R, the 1090RR bares a strong resemblance to its predecessors, despite MV’s claim that the bike is over 80% brand new. While maybe bland in the creativity box, the classic Brutale line is a timeless hit. As such, the MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR was quite the crowd pleaser…maybe that’s why MV never changes it.

MV Agusta Brutale 990R Accessorized

12/05/2009 @ 2:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Is the sporty look not your style? Don’t worry then, MV Agusta has some options for those not looking to upgrade their Brutale with the MV Agusta Corse parts bin. Helping make the MV Agusta 990R more comfortable, practical, and unique, MV showcased a bevy of accessories for its Brutale line. Check out the photos after the jump.