Ducati Sets Sales Record for 2014 – 45,100 Bikes Sold

Ducati Motor Holding is reporting another record sales year, and that the Italian motorcycle manufacturer sold 45,100 bikes in 2014. This marks the fifth year in a row that Ducati has shown sales growth, and it’s the third year in a row that the sales figures have been an all-time record for the Italian brand. Sales for 2014 were up 2% over 2013, with the USA again leading as Ducati’s most important market (8,804 units sold in the USA). Unsurprisingly, the Asian market is growing quickly for Ducati as well, up 11% in 2014. Ducati attributes its sales growth in-part to its new water cooler Monster line, where the Ducati Monster 1200 and Ducati Monster 821 helped raise Monster sales by 31%, with 16,409 new bikes sold in 2014.

Newspeak: The Advent of the “Adventure-Sport”

In the past decade the ADV segment has been a confusing amalgamation of differing interests, and over that time-period, two distinct groups have boiled to the surface. First there are the “Long Way Round” hopefuls, who invariably own a BMW R1200GS/A, and seem to be on some sort of perpetual preparation for an African safari. More recently, a second group has appeared: those riders who look to these big ADV bikes as more versatile Sport-Touring machines. All these riders, and their bikes, have been wedged into a single “Adventure” category, and it has created a bit of confusion for the segment. So, I want to introduce the concept of the “Adventure-Sport” and how it differentiates from the previous “Adventure-Touring” category.

MotoGP: Ducati’s Desmosedici GP15 Officially Delayed

As had been widely expected, Ducati will not have the GP15 ready for the first test at Sepang, in early February. In an interview with the MotoGP.com website, due to be shown on 19th January, Ducati Corse boss confirmed that work was still underway on the all-new bike; and that instead, Ducati will be bringing an uprated version of last year’s bike, dubbed the GP14.3, to test aspects of the new design not requiring the new engine. The delays have been trailed by both Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, speaking to the media at the Valencia test and at the Superprestigio dirt track event in December. The GP15 is a completely new bike, designed from the ground up, with a completely redesigned engine.

1972 Honda CB500, 3D Printed to Life Size

We’ve talked a bit before about the virtues of 3D printing, and how this increasingly affordable technology could change the consumer landscape as far as how we buy basic parts in the motorcycle industry. For as practical as how 3D printing, or rapid prototyping, can be, it can also be beautiful and used for art. This story is sort of a merger of those two ideas. Jonathan Brand has hoped to buy a 1972 Honda CB500 motorcycle, but the birth of his son changed that plan. Where there is a will though, there is a way, and Brand came up with the next best thing — he built a life-size model of a CB500 with his 3D printer.

Mercedes CEO: No Further Acquisition of MV Agusta

Italians are rejoicing over the news that Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has made it clear that the German car manufacturer is not interested in acquiring more of MV Agusta’s private stock. Loyal readers will remember that Mercedes-AMG purchased 25% of MV Agusta last October, for a rumored €30 million — echoing the move Audi made in Ducati. Talking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit though, Zetsche said “however, to avoid what happened with Ducati we point out that we have no intention to take over the business or produce motorcycles. MV Agusta can do it better than us.”

Triumph Has Its Best Sales Year Since Its Rebirth

Good news for Triumph Motorcycles fans, as the British motorcycle marque is reporting a banner year for 2014 — with 54,432 units sold worldwide. That figure is up 4% over 2013’s sales figure of 52,089 units, which was the first time that Triumph broke the 50,000 unit mark since the company’s rebirth in 1984. Helping Triumph reach this new high-water mark was the company’s home market, where Triumph accounted for one-in-five motorcycles sold in the UK (over 500cc). Overall, Triumph saw 8% growth in the UK, as modest growth considering the British market was up roughly 10% last year. The news is not all good, however. Triumph previously reported that financial figures for the first-half of 2014 were down, with revenue down £364 million from £369 million, and net income at a loss of £8 million.

Husqvarna 401 Concepts Will Be 2017 Production Models

One of the more intriguing things to come out of the 2014 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan were Husqvarna’s two “401” concepts, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen. The café-styled bikes are based off the KTM 390 Duke platform, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at them. Husqvarna said at EICMA that if there was sufficient interest, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen could go into production. With an overwhelming critical response from the press and fans, it should come no surprise then that our friends at Bike.se are reporting that Husqvarna intends to make the small-displacement machines a part of its 2017 model lineup.

Ducati Desmosedici Cucciolo Concept by Alex Garoli

Imagine if you will that the first Ducati, the Ducati Cucciolo, and the most modern Ducati, the Ducati Desmosedici, had a child — what would it look like? That far-fetched question nagged Mexican designer Alex Garoli, so he decided to build a concept of the machine. At the core of the Ducati Desmosedici Cucciolo is the V4 powerplant of Italy’s MotoGP race bike, and around it Garoli has imagined a modern steel trellis frame that mimics the bicycle frame look of the post-WWII motorized bicycles that pulled Italy out of deep recession. Of course the most interesting thing about Garoli’s concept is the fact that it’s a ~12:1 scale model. The work is pretty exquisite, even if you don’t agree with the concept’s ethos.

Is Suzuki Reviving the Katana and Gamma Names?

Signs of life are starting to trickle out of Hamamatsu, as Suzuki finally seems to be working on new models for our riding pleasure. First, it was the news that the turbocharged Suzuki Recursion concept is likely to go into production, and now it’s that the Japanese OEM is reviving iconic names from its past: Katana and Gamma. Suzuki has re-registered the Katana name & logo with both the European and American trademark offices, while the Gamma logo has been re-registered in the EU. What this means precisely in terms of future models is up for debate. As for the name Katana, the evidence might already be in front of us with the Recursion concept. The Suzuki Katana line started life as a performance-oriented machine, and slowly saw its name watered down into the sport-touring segment.

MV Agusta Gets €15 Million Loan for New Business Plan

Good turns for MV Agusta, as the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has secured a €15 million loan from SACE and Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM). The loan, which was issued by BPM and guaranteed by SACE, will go towards MV Agusta’s foreign growth plans, namely the company’s strengthening of its US business, and its push into Brazil and Southeast Asia. The more business-speak version of that statement is that MV Agusta will use the €15 million to implement the company’s 2014-2018 business plan, which has the company expanding its product range and penetrating into “high-potential” markets.

Aprilia: Victories Trump Tablecloths

06/21/2010 @ 3:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Aprilia USA has tapped Hell for Leather and Tangent Vector to help them market the 2010 Aprilia RSV4 sport bike in a three-part video clip series. First up is a response to the BMW tablecloth trick video, which went viral on YouTube three months ago. Deciding to rest its laurels on its World Superbike doubles at Miller Motorsports Park, Monza, and Portimao, instead of cheap parlor tricks, Aprilia is clearly poking BMW in the eye with this video response. Check it out after the jump.

WSBK: Race 2 at Monza Should be Called “The Crash, The Motor, & The Podium”

05/10/2010 @ 6:09 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

With strong showings by familiar and unfamiliar faces this season, Race 2 at Monza proved to have some excitement up its sleeve. This anticipation proved to be worth it, as crashes took out victory hopefuls, leading to a comfortable finish for one rider, and nail biter for another. With a surprise podium in the mix, there’s a team still partying in Italy as we speak. Find out why after the jump.

Aprilia RSV4 Biaggi Replica: 200hp, 175kg, €50,000

05/10/2010 @ 4:19 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

UPDATE: Aprilia has confirmed that the Aprilia RSV4 Biaggi Replica will not be available for purchase directly in the US, and is bought directly from Aprilia Racing in Italy. The Aprilia RSV4 Biaggi Replica is also upgradeable via Aprilia Racing’s catalog, which means gear-driven cam shafts, Biaggi swingarms, and all the other fun go-fast parts that are “publicly” available to meet WSBK regulations.

Well the rumors were true, as the Aprilia RSV4 Biaggi Replica was launched this weekend at the World Superbike races being held at Monza, Italy. Boasting the goodies found on Max Biaggi’s Aprilia RSV4 race bike, the RSV4 Biaggi Replica has an astounding 200hp motor strapped to its anorexic 175kg (385lbs wet sans fuel) frame. For that level of performance, you can expect some sticker shock, and the Aprilia RSV4 Biaggi Replica is no exception. Owning this true race replica will set you back €50,000, but it’s totally worth it, right? Photos and more after the jump.

Max Biaggi Breaks World Superbike Record with 203.1 mph Top Speed at Monza

05/07/2010 @ 3:25 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

It was Suzuki who drew first blood, breaking the 200mph barrier at Monza, but it was Max Biaggi who set the bar the highest today during World Superbike FP1 practice. Clocking 203.21 mph (nearly 327 kph) down the straight, Biaggi broke the WSBK top speed record, but still fell short of the all-time superbike record, which was also set at Monza, and also by an Aprilia.

Last week, Fabrizio Pellizzon clocked 203.4 mph on his CIV spec’d Aprilia RSV4. Either way you look at it, the Alitalia Aprilia team is sure to be a force in Italy this week.

Aprilia RSV4 Race Replica Coming?

04/29/2010 @ 2:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

MotoBlog.it is reporting that Aprilia is set to release a race-spec replica of its RSV4 superbike. While the rumor is not clear if this will be a track-only model, or street-legal race rep like the Desmosedici RR, what is clear is that the bike is expected come with a WSBK spec motor, chassis, and electronics package.

With a price tagged rumored to be around €50,000, the race replica RSV4 certainly won’t be cheap if it’s built, but compare that price to the €90,000 price tag that comes on Ducati’s 1198RS race bike that teams have to purchase from Bologna if they want to compete in WSBK, and the RSV4 starts looking very affordable. However, with most rumors, we’re not sure this story is all that it’s cracked up to be. Keep reading for our analysis and thoughts.

Aprilia RSV4 Allowed to Use Gear Driven Camshaft Motor in World Superbike Racing

04/05/2010 @ 6:08 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

World Superbike has clarified its position after teams lodged a complaint against Aprilia for the team’s use of a gear-driven camshaft motor during the practice session at the Phillip Island WSBK stop. Despite the fact that the gear-driven camshaft is a publicly available upgrade to the RSV4 motor, and was not specially outlawed in WSBK regulations, other teams in the paddock threw a fit when they got word that Aprilia was testing the motor while in Australia, and planned to use it in Portimao.

Not wanting to be on the wrongside of the rules, Aprilia refrained from using the technology at Portimao, but it looks like WSBK’s clarification of Rule 2.4.8 would have left the Italian team in the clear, with a caveat.

Replacement Motors Arrive for Aprilia RSV4 Recall

02/23/2010 @ 2:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Aprilia USA, the North American importer and distributor of Aprilia Motorcycles and scooters has sent out an update on the recall for the 2010 Aprilia RSV4‘s motor, saying that replacement motors from Italy have arrived, and that the company is ready to begin replacing affected machines. Aprilia USA expects the recall to take two to three weeks to replace every RSV4 motor sold in the USA, but it’s unclear how long it will take for the Noale brand to recover its lost footing with would-be Aprilia purchasers.

Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Ready for World Superbike Duty

02/10/2010 @ 3:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

For the 2010 World Superbike season, Aprilia is looking to build upon their successful 2009 season, which saw Max Biaggi finishing 4th despite the RSV4’s first outing in WSBK racing. While the 2009 factory Aprilia team ran no title sponsorhip, that’s all set to change in 2010 with the announcement that Italian airline Alitalia will be headlining on the teams livery.

Faulty Connecting Rods Recall Aprilia RSV4 Fleet

02/02/2010 @ 6:02 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Per an announcement by the NHTSA, it’s now been confirmed that the RSV4’s connecting rods were to blame for Aprilia having to recall 335 RSV4 Factory and RSV4 R motorcycles. The rods, which are supplied by an outside supplier, were straightened using a method that compromised their strength and reliability, and were apparently responsible for not only sidelining an RSV4 track event with the press, but also requiring almost all the RSV4’s sold to-date to be brought in for servicing via this recall.

All American Aprilia RSV4 Motors Get Recalled

01/25/2010 @ 3:58 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

After discovering a faulty component was used in a select number of RSV4 motors, Aprilia is recalling nearly 300 V4 superbike motors worldwide, including ever motor shipped in bikes to the United States. While the faulty component isn’t being named, early rumors peg the bike’s connecting rod bearing, which sidelined the company’s track day debut to the press several months ago, as being the problem piece.

To-date, there have been no known engine failures on customer bikes, but Aprilia isn’t taking any chances, and has motors already on the way from Italy. The company hopes to have the recall finished by February, and will be personally contacting each RSV4 owner. Press statement after the jump.