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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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More Photos and Video of the Aprilia RSV4 R

09/25/2009 @ 4:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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If Aprilia had any idea how popular the RSV4 R launch would be, we think they would have done it sooner. Anyways, you wanted it, and now you got it. More shots of the “base” model RSV4 both in the studio and in action from its premiere at World Superbike’s stop at the Imola circuit.

We particularly like the look the Aprilia is bringing to the RSV4 R, very reserved large single-color paint schemes. There’s something to be said about the minimalist approach when it wraps up an intricate machine like the RSV4. Check out the video after the jump as well.

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Official: Aprilia RSV4 R to Debut at WSBK at Imola

09/22/2009 @ 9:05 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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Aprilia has chosen the Imola round of the World Superbike Series to unveil their more modest version of the RSV4, the RSV4 R. Retaining most of the basic characteristics of the RSV4 Factory, the RSV4 R will have the same chassis, ride-by-wire throttle control, and 180hp V4 motor. It also apparently comes in a very classy white color scheme.

UPDATE: Added hi-res photos

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Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R Lapping at Mugello

07/23/2009 @ 1:15 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R Lapping at Mugello

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UPDATE 2: We now have clear photos of the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 lapping around Mugello, along with video footage of the bike. Check it out here.

UPDATE: Sorry folks, it looks like we’re one of the many sites that are being requested to remove the photos of the Tuono V4 at Mugello by the photographer. The camera phone photo remains though.

We’ve got more spy shots for you today, which should cover just about every bike Aprilia is rumored to have in development. One lucky photographer was at Mugello and caught both the upcoming Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R taking laps around the Italian course. We also found what looks like a camera phone picture of the Tuono V4 out in the wild.

While the RSV4 has gotten most of the limelight, the Tuono V4 has been content, as always, to be in the superbike’s shadow. Drawing from similar inspirations, there aren’t too many surprises on what the bike looks like. Imagine the RSV4 without its clothes on, with a new headlight, and you’ve about got it.

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Spyshots: RSV4 R “Base” Model Revealed!

07/22/2009 @ 8:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Ask, and yee shall find. Within a couple hours of posting the rumor that Aprilia releasing a “base” model RSV4, we get word of spy shots of the rumored bike. Photos confirm Showa forks relpacing the Öhlins units up front, and that the RSV4 looks damn sexy in all black. More news as we get it. Big ups to Michel!

RSV4 R “Base” Model in the Paddock:

Aprilia Focusing on WSBK for 2010

07/14/2009 @ 8:54 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

rsv4-3-4anterioresinistro

If you have any hopes of seeing Aprilia in the upcoming Moto2 series, you may have to be get over them if early reports are to be believed. While official word is expected later this August, it would appear that Aprilia will not develop a custom chassis and compete in the Moto2 series, which is scheduled to replace the 250GP next year.

Jorge “Aspar” Martinez had been linked to the team earlier as possibly being on board with the Italian company to continue his involvement in the middle-tier GP series. This rumor now seems to be denied, as there has been no movement in the Aprilia camp towards developing a chassis around the Honda CBR 600cc powerplant the new series is slated to use.

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Concept: Aprilia RSV4 Powered Zoom Rih Racer

06/08/2009 @ 5:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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It is a well established fact that all bad things either come from German or Florida. In an effort to fix this rule of thumb, German design agency Zoom has invisioned a “hobby racer” that the firm hopes to build after securing financing. Called the Rih (arabic for wind), the concept bike will incorporate a few very interesting technologies (like lungs), while at its core, there is an Aprilia RSV4 motor.

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Further Aprilia RSV4 Specifications Revealed

04/13/2009 @ 1:54 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Further Aprilia RSV4 Specifications Revealed

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The Aprilia RSV4 is set to go on sale soon this summer in Europe, and later in the year here in the US. As such, details about the bike are starting to emerge, as well as a plethora of promotional materials. Continue reading for the official technical specifcations of the RSV4, and pictures from its press only track debut.

 

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